|Secrets From The Grave
Author: redsoxchamp07 PM
The NCIS team is in for a surprise when a girl shows up at headquarters claiming to be Jenny Shepard's daughter. But is that the only secret Jenny had? Jibbs/Post JDRated: Fiction T - English - Family/Romance - Leroy Jethro Gibbs & Jenny Shepard - Chapters: 15 - Words: 125,293 - Reviews: 63 - Favs: 39 - Follows: 64 - Updated: 09-03-12 - Published: 03-15-11 - id: 6827569
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Secrets from the Grave
Summary: The NCIS team is for a surprise when a girl shows up at headquarters claiming to be Jenny Shepard's daughter. But is that they only secret Jenny had? Jibbs/Post JD
Disclaimer: Everything belongs to CBS & the creators & producers of NCIS. If I owned them, Jenny would still be alive…
Spoilers: Major Ones for Seasons Three through Five (especially for Judgment Day) & Minor ones for the seasons following that.
Chapter One: Back to D.C.
Tears welled up, burning her eyes. Drawing her legs up close, she buried her face in the crook of her knees. The light faded hours before surrounding her in darkness. But the air of loneliness suffocated her more than the darkness ever could. The light tapping on the door didn't even motivate her to spare a glance up. There was only one person that could be knocking on her door and he wouldn't hesitate to barge in after a minute or so. No one besides him knew where she lived. Hell, barely anyone knew she existed. Any friends she had thought she disappeared off the face of the planet seven years ago. And her family…her family…oh God!
As the thought of her family crossed her mind, her tears flowed harder and faster. The door creaked open and she knew he heard her distant cries. He'd given her space for the better part of the day, but she knew he must be panicking by now. Anyone else who knew him would never believe he had a caring bone in his body, but she knew different. He worried about her. Tried his best not to hover too much, but still he worried.
She felt the bed sag as he sat down next to her. When his arm draped around her shoulders, she finally risked a look up at him. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she attempted to smile up at him hating the fact that after seven years the anniversary of her mother's death still hit her this hard. Smiling back at her, he held out a bottle for which she raised her eyebrow questionably.
"It's just root beer," he laughed. "'bout the only thing I can give you for another few years."
"Oh yes because you are such a model parent. I'm actually surprised you haven't tried to give me the real thing before."
"Despite my best efforts, you're still too good of a kid to actually take a real beer from me. Plus you're mother took our four badasses singlehandedly and I wouldn't put it past her to haunt me from the grave if I ever…" he trailed off, realizing his mistake when her head sank back down.
Silently cursing himself, he pulled her close, letting her cry it out on his shoulder. "Hey, I'm sorry. Forgot what I was sayin for a minute there."
"I – thought – saying – you're – sorry – was – a sign – of – weakness," she choked out through her sobs.
"That rule doesn't apply today." He rubbed her back while she cried some more, whispering reassurances that everything would be okay. Glancing over her shoulder, he noticed the pictures scattered across the bed. Poor girl wasn't helping herself any. Not that he'd be stupid enough to point that out after his previous slip up.
"Hey," he said, lifting her chin so her eyes met his. "I may have something to cheer ya up." Reaching beside him, he picked up the envelope he'd just gotten from the Cantina and handed it to her.
She opened it to find a plane ticket and her eyes lit up. "My ticket to D.C." Smiling her first genuine smile all day, she pulled him into a tight hug. "Thanks, Uncle Mike – for everything," she added. There was no possible way to thank him for taking care of her for seven years. The best she could come up with was to move back to D.C. and trying for emancipation. Her mother left her everything, certainly enough to manage on her own for a number of years, and Mike needed to get back to his own life of drinking beer and fishing. Raising a kid wasn't the ideal retirement, after all. And with Leila having moved, he'd been stuck doing it all on his own the past few years.
Mike knew she thought she was burdening hum and while that was hardly the case he supported her decision to move back to D.C. Here in Mexico she was still grieving. Maybe back in D.C. she could finally move on.
"Emily?" Agent Peterson could hardly believe his eyes when he saw the young woman approaching the sign in desk. Last time he saw her she couldn't have been any older than eight or nine, but he'd recognize that flaming red hair and crystal blue eyes anywhere. Normally, he overlooked Agent DiNozzo's betting pools, but as a girl, Emily had sparked his suspicions enough to enter one particular pool. "My God, it is you! I haven't seen you since you were a kid."
She smiled back at him while glancing about the lobby, eyes drinking in everything there was to see. "I know it's been years since I've been here."
"I'm sorry about your godmother, Emily."
"Thanks," she responded, trying hard to mask the pain in her voice.
Knowing the routine, she plunked her backpack on his desk, letting him search through it. After insuring it was clear of any threats, he handed it back to her along with a visitor's badge. "Here to see Agent David?" He asked, while beginning to fill out the visitor log.
"Actually, I'm here to see Special Agent Gibbs," she stated as if it was nothing unusual. Agent Peterson smirked as he crossed Ziva's name out and replaced it with Gibbs'. He had a funny feeling there might be some money in his near future.
"You are all set. Still remember the way or do you want me to walk you up?"
"I remember," she said solemnly as distant memories resurfaced behind her eyes. "It was good to see you again, Agent Peterson."
"Same here." She started towards the elevator, but Agent Peterson couldn't resist his curiosity. "Emily?"
When she turned back to face him, he finally plucked up the courage to ask what he'd always known. "She wasn't just your godmother, was she?"
"No. She wasn't," Emily stated, not divulging anything more. She knew what he was asking and knew she didn't actually need to say it out loud.
"I am truly sorry. NCIS hasn't been the same without her."
Her only reply was a nod, but before she turned back to the elevator he noticed a stray tear slowly falling down her cheek. That's when he realized how drastically different this young distant woman was from the vibrant little girl he once knew. Perhaps NCIS wasn't the only thing that wasn't the same anymore.
As soon as the elevators shut, she flicked the emergency stop button. Sliding down the cool metal wall, Emily closed her eyes trying to will the tears away. Maybe coming to the place where everyone knew her mother was a bad idea. At least in Mexico, she could curl in a ball and drown her sorrows in root bear. No one knew her there, no one knew her mother. In Mexico, her pain was her own. But here in D.C.? Here she might have to share her pain and even harder – share her mother's memory.
"Hey, Probie?" Tony hollered across the bullpen to McGee.
"I thought the Boss was out."
"Well, who else would be using the elevator as an office?" He asked pounding the button repeatedly.
"No idea, but if you keep pounding the button, you're going to break it and you better hope Gibbs isn't in there when you do."
"It's not…" Push. "My fault…" Push. "He always…" Push. "Feels the…" Push. "Need to…" Ding! "Alright! See there, Probie? Sometimes you got to…Hello?" Tony trailed off when the doors opened and he came face to face with, not Gibbs, but a young redhead who reminded him a lot of… "Whoa!"
"Um…sorry," the girl apologized, brushing past him to allow him to enter.
Tony started to move into the elevator, but quickly spun back around. He couldn't shake the feeling that she looked so familiar. "Is there something I can help you with?"
"I'm actually looking for Agent Gibbs."
Tony tilted his head back towards the bullpen indicating for her to follow him. "He's actually out for the moment. Should be back in an hour or so. Anything I can do for you in the mean time, Miss…"
"Uh…my names Emily," she filled in. "It's nothing all that important, Agent…DiNozzo. Is there a place I could wait for Agent Gibbs to return?"
"Sure, just follow…" he started before backpedaling. He never introduced himself and, while she seemed familiar, he didn't believe they'd ever met. "How did you know my name?"
"My mom…she used to work for NCIS. She told me a lot about Agent Gibbs and his team. Truthfully, I took a guess you were Agent DiNozzo. He…" she said pointing towards McGee, who had stopped upgrading the something or other, of which Tony had ignored his earlier explanation of, and was now watching the exchange with increasing interest. "Has a nicer computer so I figured he was more likely Agent McGee."
"Your mother worked for NCIS?" McGee asked before Tony could form some inappropriate joke. Damn, it was a good one too! Tony cursed at the Elflord's interruption, but had to admit he was curious to hear the girls answer.
"A number of years ago, yes. She used to be the Director."
McGee just stood there opened mouthed and gaping, while Tony stared at her like she'd spoken a different language. Sure she looked like Jenny, but she couldn't actually be…could she? "So when you say 'used to the Director,' you're talking about…"
"Yes," she confirmed. "My name is Emily Shepard and Jenny Shepard was my mother."
After a few moments, Tony looked back at McGee who looked over at Emily and then Tony again, saying, "I'll call Gibbs."
While McGee dialed Gibbs, Tony just stared at the girl. Now that she said it, now that she voiced it out loud, all he could see was Jenny. How could he have doubted it even for a second when everything about her screamed 'Jenny.' Everything but her eyes, that is. She didn't have Jenny's green eyes. Instead she had these deep blue eyes that were surprisingly familiar. God, it was on the tip of his tongue! "Gibbs," he whispered finally, drawing Emily's attention off McGee's phone call. "Gibbs is your father."
While it wasn't a question, she still opened and closed her mouth several times as if to speak, but no words came out – which was a confirmation in and of itself. The Probie had frozen in place looking like a deer in headlights, having just finished his call to Gibbs in time to catch Tony's revelation.
"Emma," someone cried, dragging him back to the scene around him.
"Aunt Ziva!" the girl cried, running over to Ziva and enveloping her in a tight hug.
Tony watched Ziva hold the girl at arm's length, examining her thoroughly, before pulling her in for a second hug. "It has only been a few months since I last saw you and you have still grown up so much! We must see each other more frequently, yes? Now, come sit. We must catch up."
McGee and Tony stared at the scene before them, watching Ziva pull a second chair over to her desk for Emma to sit in. Tony couldn't believe it and he doubted the Probie could either. Ziva knew Jenny had a daughter and didn't tell them! But more than that, she knew Jenny had a daughter with Gibbs no less and yet continuously chastised him for believing Gibbs and Jenny to have been more than just partners back in the day.
"You knew?" Tony finally managed to squeeze out in disbelief.
"Of course I knew, Tony. I worked with Jenny when she was pregnant and continued to work with her throughout Emma's childhood."
"Don't blame Ziva, Agent DiNozzo. No one from NCIS was allowed to know except a handful of people and they only knew because it was unavoidable. I was kept as much a secret as I could be. I don't even live in the States anymore. Not since…" she trailed off and Tony gulped as the guilt swelled up inside him.
"Please call me Tony. Emma, about your mom…" he started, knowing he had to apologize. If he hadn't been so stubborn and gone after Jenny like Ziva wanted to, Jenny might still be alive.
"Don't," Emma cut him off, walking over and resting a hand on his arm. "Please, don't. Ziva told me you two blamed yourselves for what happened. It was not your fault, Tony. Trust me when I say, even if you tried to follow her, if my mom didn't want you involved, she would make sure you never found her."
Tony nodded not trusting his voice and also unsure of what he could possibly say. Deciding it best to change the topic, he opted to ask a question instead. "Does Gibbs know?"
"No!" she injected immediately. "And he can never know," she added making everyone, even Ziva, uncomfortable.
"Emma…" Ziva began.
"My mom didn't tell any of you she was sick, did she?"
"No," the all answered confused.
"My mother was already sick when she died. I don't know much about it since I was too little at the time, but I do know it's genetic and she was dying." Tony sighed. He hated the feeling, but knowing Jenny would have died and probably more horribly than she actually did helped him relive some of the guilt that had been looming over him the past seven years.
"He's your father, Emma. You need to tell him," Ziva attempted to reason.
"My mother told me about my sister Kelly," Emma pointed out and the three fell silent. "My mom had a genetic disease and there's a likely chance she passed it on to me. So you tell me, do you really think my father can handle losing another daughter?"
Any protests the three could come up with were silenced with the mention of Kelly and left them all questioning if the young girl had a point. McGee finally broke the silence, wondering, "If you never planned to tell Gibbs the truth, why are you here?"
"I want to move back to D.C. and in order to do that I need to be emancipated. Now, while I was a secret to NCIS, the media, and people like that, to the rest of the world? Not so much. So as long as his name is on my birth certificate, I need his signature."
"How do you plan on convincing him to sign an emancipation agreement without telling him he's your father?"
"I've been living with Mike Franks for the past seven years. I have a few tricks up my sleeve."
Tony smiled at that. "Planning on tricking a federal agent into unknowingly signing over his rights to your freedom…oh you are your mother's daughter!"
"Tony, about my mom… I know she probably wasn't your favorite person…"
"Emma, you don't have to…" Tony began, knowing this wasn't the young girls fight.
"No, Tony. Let me finish. I know she was a bit of a bitch here, but she was a great mom. The two of us had a deal that the Director Façade disappeared the second she got home."
"I'm sure she…"
"But she crossed a line with the La Grenouille incident. I was too young to truly understand what happened at the time, but looking back I can honestly say she should have never put you through that – not even for me."
"For you? I thought she believed La Grenouille murdered her father."
"She did, but there was more to it than that."
"La Grenouille kidnapped Emma in Cairo when she was four," Ziva injected, stunning Tony. Everyone knew that the level of obsession Jenny's pursuit took came from far more than the murder of her father, but the kidnapping of her daughter? For that, Tony almost had to respect that Jenny hadn't gone farther. He didn't have to be a parent to know that when it came to the protection of their kids, there were no limits. Agent Lee proved that to him years ago.
"When my mother became Director, we fell back on La Grenouille's radar. She wanted to protect me, but she went too far."
"No she didn't. If our roles were reversed, I would have done the same."
"Still…I don't think she ever told you how sorry she was, so let me apologize for her because she truly did regret what she put you through."
"You know if Gibbs were here, he would…"
"I would what, DiNozzo?" Gibbs' voice hollered across the bullpen, causing Tony to jump.
"How does he always do that?" Tony muttered to himself, watching Gibbs make his way over from the elevator. Things were sure to get interesting now.