Jeopardy! (with apologies to Mr. Trebek)
by Sammie

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. The kidnappers, the new director, the deputy directors are not canon. Everyone else - Adie, Heather, Axelrod, and Balboa - all are. A few quotes from other shows, a scene reworked from a movie, and a few short takes from "The Princess Bride". :-)
Rating: K, T max.
Spoilers: "Jeopardy"
Summary: Director Shepard is kidnapped. My version of the episode.

A/N: This is my thank you to my dear, long time "FoN" pals - Mindy, Sundance/Kate, and Nikkinor - who've suffered with me for a long time. Keepin' the (pipe) dream alive. Enjoy the power while you have it.

Thanks to Jumaolster, Puperoni, and Deescee from "FoN". Each contributed something to Director Shepard's pink VW, coupled with the Gibbs stained glass windows from Mindy's and my FF, "The Rescue".

Disclaimer #1: I like Lauren Holly. I am of the general opinion that her comedic and dramatic talents are being horrendously wasted as Director Shepard, at least the Season 3 version, the season in which I wrote this FF. I'm quite glad to hear her character has improved since then.

Disclaimer #2: No Director Shepards were injured in the writing of this story. I didn't watch "Jeopardy" so I don't know what happened with her.

Those who like Director Shepard ought not to read this story.

She's kind of a joke at least in Season 3, but the only comfort to my despairing heart is that here it's a joke which will hopefully bring a few laughs, rather than a joke that isn't funny but horrifying (as she's portrayed on screen), like a train wreck one can't stop.

I don't think I've ever seen two more unmatched people in Gibbs and Shepard, and I cringe at the way he treats her with such disrespect and want to scream when she allows him to do so. It's not even fitting of a regular acquaintance, much less of a professional relationship and even less of a personal one. I love Gibbs, but I'm all for DFF kicking Gibbs' six good and hard just once, just to show who's boss.

"Director Jenny Shepard?"

Shepard turned after tossing her bag into the passenger's side. "Yes? Can I help you?" She looked calmly at the man in the ski mask carrying the AK-47.

The man blinked. "Uh...Rick?" He spoke into the mike hanging by his mouth. "What do I say to her? ... Oh, right." He pointed across the street, away from himself. "Look, Jenny! Gibbs! Gibbs!"

"Where? Where?" She turned eagerly, looking in the direction where the man pointed as he tossed a black cloth bag over her head.

Ziva sat slumped in her chair, shooting killer looks at anyone who got near to her. The speaker at the sexual harassment seminar continued to drone on. "Perhaps we have done this terrorism battle all wrong," the Mossadi muttered to no one in particular. "We ought to drop that speaker into Afghanistan, with his videos." She paused. "These would make excellent interrogation devices."

"Are you kidding," Tony grumbled, staring blankly towards the front as the sexual harassment speaker continued. "If we did this at Gitmo, Amnesty International would holler Geneva Convention violation."

"Where is Director Shepard? The memo said she was going to be here 'barring some unforseen circumstance', yes?"

"Like a date with Gibbs?" muttered somebody in front of Tony. There were a few giggles.

"Maybe she got captured," Balboa said hopefully.

"We'll have to find whoever that was and reward him," Tony snickered.

"Twenty percent of Director Shepard," Balboa grinned, and slapped a high-five with Tony.

Just then Ducky came in, quietly tiptoing towards his old friend. "Jethro, something came for you in autopsy."

"Oh, that's my cue," Tony replied, waving cheerily at Balboa, who shot him a dark look as the team fairly skipped and waltzed out of the seminar room. "Ah, the sweet smell of freedom," he breathed as the team sneaked out into the hallway. "Ducky, you are so lucky you don't have to go."

"Now, now," Ducky chuckled. "Let's not argue over who does not have to attend the seminar." He handed Gibbs an envelope.

"Says the person who didn't have to go," Tony grumbled.

Gibbs turned the letter over. "This isn't for me," he declared, scowling.

"Of course it's for you, Jethro," Ducky replied, an amused smile on his face. "Who else would 'Jenny's Jethro' refer to?"

The others began to laugh until Gibbs shot a dark glare around at all of them as he opened the envelope.

"The kidnappers are...Rick, Richie, and Richard Zipes - at least, that's how they signed the letter," McGee replied, peeping over the edge of the letter.

Gibbs read the first line: "'We have your director, Jen Shepard.'"

"Actually," Tony replied, still looking over his boss' shoulder, it says, "'Shepherd' - like the guy who chases sheep. That's crossed out and then it's 'Sheperd' - and then that's crossed out and it says 'Shepperd' with two p's - and then that's crossed out. How DOES she spell her name?" he mused.

"They want $1 million dollars left in Anacostia Park at the bird statue by 5 pm to get their grandfather, an old Marine with heart trouble, a heart transplant," Gibbs summarized the letter, "or they want Bethesda to do it now. Either option, they're going to keep Shepard until the money comes in or he gets a transplant."

There was a long silence, and then Tony said slowly, "I just had this evil thought." Everyone looked at him. "If we don't give them the one million or get their grandfather the transplant, then we'd never have to get the director back."

There was a long silence, and then Ziva huffed, "Tony, you are terrible! How could you say something like that!"

"I know!" Abby whacked him in the head and glared. "Think of that poor old man!"

"McGee and I checked out Director Shepard's house. Nice place. No sign of forced entry," Tony reported, coming around in front of Gibbs' desk, where his boss was absently pushing buttons on his cell phone. Tony peered over the desk curiously, trying to get a glimpse, then quickly retreated when Gibbs glared. "Nothing suspicious around the parking lot, either."

Gibbs' cell phone played a little tune, and Tony leaned over again, trying to catch a glimpse.

"If you put the long thin bar right in that corner you can get four rows at once," Ziva commented. "Tetris," she replied to Tony's questioning look.

"How did your and Gibbs' camera-planting go at the Zipes house?" Ducky asked.

"Simple. I walked right in, told them I was inspecting local area homes for radon," Ziva chuckled. "Like taking brandy from a baby."

"'Candy,' Ziva," Tony replied. "'Candy.' Babies aren't allowed to drink, anyhow. Hey, can I see the video feed?"

Ziva began to snicker, then handed Tony the remote control. Gibbs heaved a huge sigh. Ducky smiled to himself.

Tony clicked on the video feed from the Zipes home.

"Will you stop primping your hair?" one kidnapper hollered. "When I see Gibbs I want to be prepared," Shepard huffed, looking over her pocket mirror at her kidnappers. "Do you think they will really come?" the youngest asked. "I'm afraid they aren't that dumb," the oldest muttered. "Look, woman, you have no hair to fix," the first retorted. "Let's shave her head for kicks," the youngest perked up.

"These kidnappers are ingenious. There are fans above every window and every door," Ziva replied, shaking her head in admiration. "She can't climb out of one without the wind messing up her hair. Then they put a plasma screen TV in her room and one in her bathroom - "

"She has her own bathroom?"

"Complete with antique clawfoot tub," Ziva nodded. "They run Mark Harmon movies and TV shows 24 hours a day. If she leaves, she'll miss something. She's a prisoner in that house! She can't leave!"

"Devious bastards," Tony murmured, awe-stricken. "They know her like a book."

"Where is McGee, anyhow?" Ziva asked. "Didn't he come back with you?"

x x x x x

"This is the most disturbing thing I have ever seen," Abby replied, standing in her red NCIS jumpsuit, her goggles hanging limply from her hands as she stared at the director's second car. Her usual one sat off to the side, a few feet away.

McGee picked up with gloved hands the bagged sticker from the inside of the window and read, "'Custom made car windows. For round the year enjoyment, natural sunlight by day and internal LED light-up by night.' Does this count as stalking?"

They stood there, looking at the adorable, custom-painted pink Volkswagon Beetle with silver door handles. And Leroy Jethro Gibbs stained-glass windows.

"That so should be me," came the voice, floating in from the living room.

Rick moaned from where he was sitting at the table in the kitchen, banging his head down on the tabletop.

"Hey, watch it!" Richard exclaimed as he came in. "That table was a gift from the Kaiser of England."

Rick glared. "Next time, I get to scout out NCIS headquarters."

"I was looking out for your safety," Richard huffed as he deposited his Kevlar and his binoculars on the table.

"You were looking out for your own sanity," Rick retorted. "You couldn't stand Red in there, so you left me and Richie here with her."

"That so should be me," came Shepard's voice again.

"What is going on in there?" Richard asked finally.

"Richie caved, let her have a 'NCIS' TV show marathon on OUR television," Rick grumbled. "Every time that Mark Harmon character looks at another woman that director says 'That so should be me'. She near died from excitement when Sasha Alexander's character was thrown into his arms in some emergency blow." He made a face. "She's like two marbles in a tin can."

There was a loud sigh, and then, "He is so HOT. That so should be me."

"Make that one marble," Rick muttered.

"Why isn't she in her own room?" Richard asked. "That's why those TVs are there."

"We were afraid she'd overdose after that whole submarine 'NCIS' episode," Rick grumbled. "Then we'd be left without a bargaining chip for Gramps' surgery."

Richard fidgeted. ", about that." He got a pained look on his face. "We might not have one anyhow. NCIS doesn't want to pay the ransom."

"We knew that they won't negotiate to get Grandpa that transplant. That's why we took the Director."

"No, no. They won't pay the ransom because they don't want her back." Richard took a deep breath. "I staked out HQ for four hours. I keep seeing people get out of official NCIS cars with streamers and balloons and cake and pizza." Richard sighed. "They even hired a clown to make balloon animals."

"How do you know that?" Rick gasped.

"Because I invited that clown to make animals for little Ricky's party."

"Oh, they hired Bobo?" Rick asked, his eyes lighting up. "I love Bobo!"

"FOCUS!" Rick looked chastised. "I told Richie we shouldn't have kidnapped this one if we wanted somebody," Richard huffed. "There's no way Jenny's Jethro is going to pay to get this one back."

"Who the h-ll names their kid 'Jenny's Jethro'? Do they hate him or something?" Rick muttered.

"Gramps will never get his surgery," Richard moaned. He paused, then brightened. "Maybe they'll pay us to KEEP her," he perked up. "What about that?"

"RICHARD! THINK before you speak," Rick muttered, whacking him in the back of the head. "That means WE'd have to keep her!"

Tony and Abby huddled under the partition, and then Tony pulled back the pouch holding the water balloon. It sailed up onto the balcony and nailed an unsuspecting agent busy reading a file while he waited in the ice cream cones line. "DINOZZO! THAT WAS THE LONGFELLOW COLD CASE FILE!"

Just then Gibbs' desk phone began to ring. Tony jumped over. "Hello, Ozzonid Funeral Home." He stopped, puzzled when he heard wailing and sobbing in the background, and then a 'It's OK, Richie. He's not talking about Grandpa.' "Hello?"

"I'm looking for Jenny's Jethro. I was told this was his phone number."

"Hey, boss, it's for you," Tony called.

Gibbs sighed, wiping his hands clean from his buffalo wing. "Hello?"

"Jenny's Jethro?"

"NO," Gibbs barked. "I don't belong to anybody and 'specially not to her. I'm Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs."

There was whispering on the other end, and then the voice returned. "Yeah, she says you use that as a nickname." Gibbs glared at the phone. "Anyhow, I'm here to discuss your director." There was no response, so the kidnapper continued, hissing, "I know what NCIS is up to. Don't think you can fool us. We're not stupid!"

"Never said you were," Gibbs replied calmly.

"You never intended to pay that ransom," the caller insisted. "You never wanted to get your director back! You're having a big ole party over there! I SAW BOBO!"

"Would you like to come?" Gibbs offered in a rare display of generosity.

"Don't play games with me!" the man hollered. "Listen to me. Change of plan. You don't get Grandpa that transplant, and I'll send her back!"

Gibbs frowned, truly concerned now. "You don't want to do that. Don't do anything rash. I can swing the kidnapping with a jury. They'll understand. But you release her, they'll never be able to forgive that. Listen to me. A jury - they can sympathize with your circumstances. But you release her, you'll lose any ground you made with them."

"I'm going to do it!"

"That does put a damper on our relationship," Gibbs muttered.

"You seem such a decent fellow," the man continued. "I hate to impose her on you."

"You seem such a decent fellow," Gibbs complimented back. "I hate to have her imposed on me."

"Let's meet in person to discuss the matter," the man replied.

"All right, on one condition. You leave Jen. I'm not going to have you drop her and run."

There was a long silence, then a muffled "D-mn!" "All right."

"This was the show spun off of 'Happy Days', using a character from one of Richie Cunningham's dreams," blared the TV.

"What is 'Mork and Mindy'!" Richie called out.

"What is 'Mork and Mindy'," intoned one of the players.

"That's right. Go again."

"Do you like my hair?" Shepard asked, sitting up on the living room couch. She slowly turned her head to give the kidnapper a look.

Richie swallowed. "Uh." His momma always told him to be polite, and that if he didn't have anything nice to say, he shouldn't say nuffin' at all. "It's interestin'."

"Really?" she perked up.

Rick moaned from a corner. Richie's doofus politeness was beginning to grate. "Lady, it sucks."

"That's 'Director Shepard' or 'ma'am,'" she huffed, sitting back in her chair and glaring before opening the TV Guide. "Hey! They're having a marathon of the later 'Chicago Hope' episodes!"

"NO." Rick snatched away the remote and glared. "NO."

Shepard glared back.

Rick handed the TV remote to Richie. "I'm going to the bathroom. No more Mark Harmon movies, no more 'Chicago Hope,' no more 'St. Elsewhere,' no more no NOTHING," he warned Richie, who looked a little like a kicked puppy. "Just because Red over here wants to watch doesn't mean it's all right."

"Yes sir," Richie nodded.

"'American Idol' is all right."

"Here's the deal," Richard began, sitting across from an amused Gibbs. He held up a pea between his fingers, then indicated the row of five walnut shells on the table. "Pea. You mix up the shells. If I find the pea, then you get Grandpa that surgery and take Red home. If I don't, then we keep Red."

Gibbs shrugged. "Fine by me."

The man put the pea under the shell farthest to Gibbs' left, and then Gibbs moved all the shells around. "Go ahead."

The man examined the shells for a moment, then put his finger down on the middle walnut shell. He picked up the shell to reveal the pea. "Pea! I win! Now - "

Gibbs silently picked up the other shells to reveal peas under all of them. "Richard, Richard, Richard. I told you not to play tricks with me."

"How did you know?" Richard exclaimed.

Gibbs just smirked.

DiNozzo picked up his ringing phone. "DiNozzo. Hi, Adie."

"Who's Adie?" Ziva asked, puzzled.

"Adie's one of the directors' secretaries," McGee replied.

"I thought Claudia was Director Shepard's secretary."

"Adie is Deputy Director Francis' secretary," McGee replied patiently. "Used to be Director Morrow's."

"How come I've never met her?"

"Because," Abby replied, shrugging, "why bother seeing her if Director Shepard is always down here batting her eyes at Gibbs?"

Ziva nodded, then frowned. "Deputy Director Francis?"

"Deputy Director Kate Francis," McGee clarified.

"How come I've never met her? I've been here a year."

"Because," Abby replied, shrugging, "why bother seeing her if Director Shepard is always down here batting her eyes at Gibbs?"

"Deputy Director Kate Francis is in charge of operations. Nicole Knorr is in charge of management and administration. They want to see us," Tony cut in.

"We have more than one deputy director?" a shocked Ziva asked, still fixated on the deputy directors. "How have I never met them?"

"Because," Abby began, and Tony and McGee joined in, "why bother seeing them if Director Shepard is always down here batting her eyes at Gibbs?"

"Plus," McGee added, "there's the possibility Deputy Director Francis or Deputy Director Knorr might, you know, actually say 'no' to something we ask for. Whereas, we could ask for an ice cream party, and if we asked Director Shepard through Gibbs, we'd get it."

"How long have they been here?"

"Well, we've always had the deputy director position, but Knorr and Francis came in just a month before Director Shepard. They're pretty new."

"They've been overloaded on work since Director Morrow left," Abby replied. "Each has been doing all her work and half of the director's all year."

"Seriously, with their workloads," Tony muttered, "I have to wonder how long it took them to realize she was even gone."

"I had fifty bucks on never," Abby offered.

"Is there anyone else?" Ziva asked, stunned.

"Yup. Five executive assistant directors."

"How come we've never had to report to them?" Ziva asked, stunned. As her three colleagues started to open their mouths, she sighed. "I know, I know. Why bother seeing them if Director Shepard is always down here throwing her eyes at Gibbs?"

"'Batting her eyes', and you've got it."

"C'mon," Tony called, running quickly up the stairs. "Let's go! Francis wants to see us!"

"All right," Gibbs replied. "You take out all those peas. One pea only. I find the pea, you keep Director Shepard."

"All right," the man huffed. He removed all the peas, moved around the shells, and smirked at Gibbs.

Gibbs chuckled, then laid a finger on a walnut shell. The man picked up the shell and there was the pea. "D-mn! Two out of three," the man huffed. He moved around the shells again. "Let's see you do it again, old man."

Gibbs glared a little at the 'old man' comment, then pointed to the shell on the right.

Richard slowly picked up the shell. The pea sat on the table. "D-mn! Three out of five," he claimed, quickly mixing up the shells again.

Gibbs just chuckled. "Left one."

Richard picked up the shell. The pea was underneath. "Where did you learn how to do this!" he exclaimed.

"From the best," Gibbs smirked. "I had an ex-Secret Service agent on my team."

Richard entered the home forlornly, dropping his bag at the front as he went.

"I've seen that look before," Rick frowned. "What's wrong?"

"I couldn't get the agent to take her back," Richard grumbled. "We played the peas and walnut shells game, like you suggested."


"He won every single match. All 421 of them."

"Hi Richard!" Richie bounced in, giving the older brother a huge hug.

"What's he so happy about?" Richard asked.

"We have good news." Rick grinned. "We just called Grandpa. A transplant came in with his blood type and he got his surgery this morning and just got returned to recovery. Seems NCIS was trying to keep it under wraps so we wouldn't get rid of the director over there."

"Thank God," Richard moaned. "I didn't think we could ever get rid of Red." He paused, looking at their delighted faces. "What?"

"Oh, we have more good news," Richie burst out, unable to hold it in. "About Red. She's not red anymore."

Richard frowned. "What?"

"We dyed her hair!" Richie cheered. "Now, you can call her 'Caribbean Green'! Wanna see?"

"Sure," Richard said, walking into the living room. "She's not here." He went to her room. "Room's empty."

"I wanted to show you her hair. It was so purty," Richie pouted. "But she ran away."

"Thank God," Rick moaned.

"I guess the fans messing up her hair doesn't mean anything if her hair's not red," Richard mused.

Abby came bouncing in, the gift baskets teetering. Tony swooped in. "Let me help you with that," he smiled charmingly. "Who are all these for?"

"Uh, the candy is for the kidnappers, and the other stuff for us," Abby replied, pointing at the different gifts. "Oh, and these are for the new director."

"SecNav sure moves fast. These appointments generally take forever."

"Candy goes on McGee's desk, and the gifts for us on Ziva's," Tony replied. "When you put the candy on, just make sure it doesn't slide off. We had a mini avalanche of candy a few hours ago."

Just then the elevator doors opened, and in came Gibbs. The entire bullpen quieted, all standing stock still, watching the gray-haired agent step in. They watched him, then all eyes turned back to the elevator. No one else came out.

"Boss?" Tony began nervously. " didn't - "

"No, I didn't bring her back."

The bullpen erupted in cheers and dancing, and the conga line which was snaking down the stairs from MTAC started up again. Axelrod came up, holding out a glass and pouring champagne. "Want some? We're celebrating."

"We've been celebrating all day. Where was the champagne then?"

"Oh, this is different. Deputy Director Knorr just announced a new personnel change."

Gibbs paused. "Yeah?"

"New director arrives tomorrow!" Axelrod shouted, and more cheers went up. "The executive assistant director, Pacific, Mindy Harmon."

"She'll bring here all her ties in Australia," Gibbs mused. "That's always good."

"Sure thing," Axelrod agreed, bobbing his head. "And here's this - Knorr also announced that Director Shepard is moving to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence."

Gibbs blinked. "Really?"

"Well, if the new director comes, the old one's got to go!"

"We ought to send up a celebratory scotch to the new director," Gibbs replied, sipping his champagne with a grin. "To our new director," he called out uncharacteristically, raising a toast, to cheers.

"May she redeem the good name of non-flirty female bosses everywhere," Heather shouted, and a loud roar of approval went up from the women agents.

"We already asked the directors what the new director likes," Axelrod chuckled. "You can add your present to the pile in her office." He took another sip, then added, "Oh, and we're taking up a collection to give Deputy Director Knorr and Deputy Director Francis time off before they fall on their faces and die of exhaustion."

Just then the elevator door opened, and the entire bullpen froze. The conga line coming down from MTAC stopped right on the stairwell as they all stared. A blue piece of confetti floated down, making a loud rustling when it fell on Ziva's desk phone. There was an audible gulp from the back.

Shepard strode in, her chin up, glaring at all the agents as she walked by. She stopped in front of Gibbs, giving him a pointed look for a moment, then collapsed in a sobbing mess, grabbing his knees. "Oh Jethro, you'll still love me without my red hair, right? I'm still a redhead on the inside! Isn't that what counts?" she blubbered.

"Jethro, I warned you about your penchant for redheads," Ducky muttered.

"I am so sorry, Agent Gibbs," Henry replied as a swarm of security guards came in, dragging her away. "She just ran right past us screaming 'I'm coming, Jethro'."

The agents watched as Shepard was led away, yelling, "I can dye it back, Jethro! It won't be green forever!"

Gibbs shuddered.

"What's all this?" the new director muttered, opening the door to her office, stepping over the mountain of presents, trying to get inside.

"Dark Dutch chocolate," Francis grinned, her mouth full of chocolate. "From your admiring agency."

"Nikki! Kate!" the woman laughed, giving her old colleagues a hug. "I'm so glad to be back here with you two."

Knorr laughed. "Not more happy than we or this agency is, Mindy." She waved an arm about.

"I haven't even started yet," Director Harmon replied, looking around at the vases of flowers all around her office. She noticed the black roses. "Abby Sciuto?"


Harmon held up a large package with "I LOVE AUSSIES!" written all over it. Knorr smiled as her new boss just chuckled and rolled her eyes. "It appears I'll have to have a little talk with Agent DiNozzo."

"You really do know these agents," Francis chuckled.

Harmon picked up a foot-tall card, her eyes dropping down to the bottom. "'From the redheaded agents of NCIS'," she read, then paused, her brow furrowing. "'Dear Director Harmon, we just want to say how glad we are that you're here. For the first time in a year we can revert to our normal hair color.' What?"

Knorr sighed. "Director Shepard wanted to make sure she was the only redhead in the office. For...YOU KNOW WHO." She moaned. "You don't know how many times I've had to file expense charges from these redheaded agents to pay for their brown hair dyes."

Mindy nodded, closing the card and setting it down on her desk. "Rough and tiring year?" she asked sympathetically.

"You have no idea."

Harmon chuckled, then handed each woman an envelope. "The executive assistant directors caught me on the way in," she smiled. "They wanted me to give this to you."

"What's this?" Francis frowned. Knorr looked just as puzzled.

"A week vacation to North Carolina, including time at Serenity Retreat," Harmon replied with a knowing chuckle. "A gift, from your grateful agency."