Disclaimer: I do not own Jenny, as much as I may wish I did, and I do not own Gibbs, nor most of the moments presented in this fic. I do however own the emotions, and I welcome you to try to sue me…I don't even have the first season of NCIS on dvd, so you're unlikely to find anything of worth. ;)
Spoilers: Season 3…all the way up to the last episode of the season. And for those that have seen the beginning of season 4, you'll notice something there, but it's not major.
Summary: Post-Haitus. Jenny reflects on the past, and the future. "I wonder what you would have done if I'd answered "Yes"."
A/N: Enormous thanks go to Isa, without whom this would have stayed a thought rolling around in my head, you inspired me to write…and the nagging might have helped a little too.
Song was found after I had completed the fic...My little Isa has an eye for these things, and is "There's No Goodbye" by Yoko Ono.
Made up my mind to say goodbye,
Went to the park for the last time.
But when I saw your eyes,
I knew for the first time,
That there's no goodbye between us.
I asked you once if you had ever thought of having children. You just looked at me, a smile tugging at your lips and you asked me if I was volunteering. Of course that left me smiling and red tipped, and I missed the pain behind the laughter.
I wonder what you would have done if I'd answered "Yes". Somehow I don't think you'd have pulled me into your arms and agreed. I guess that's why it's still an 'I wonder' in my head.
I have to stop myself from thinking that all those years were a lie, sometimes. Sometimes I think back to the times I wished we could be more than stolen moments undercover, or soft touches beneath the table.
I think you picked up on that. When you moved on and asked the one question that severed the strings binding us.
"Will you marry me?"
You didn't understand my reaction, my answer, and you were gone before I could hope to explain. I'm still not sure if you ever figured out why I said no. Why my heart broke down the moment you slipped to your knee. Always the romantic with me. You thought I craved that commitment; that I had to legitimise what we had to be happy. But I knew you, I know you better than you know yourself sometimes.
I used to love the feeling I got when you did exactly what I expected. That sensation that makes you think you're going to overflow, the way your heartbeat speeds up, but your breaths are calm, controlled and you know that with less control you'd be smiling so wide your face would split.
You see, I know you Jethro. I've known you so long and I knew the way you'd been with your wives. The two before me. Well three now I guess. But the way we were, it was spontaneous, carefree. If you had been anyone else I would have said yes. I would have done the cliché and fallen into your arms, eyes filled with tears of pure joy, Had I known I wasn't about to become just another in your string of wives.
I remember the first time someone left me. I nodded, frowned a little, threw the tiny plastic ring at him and stormed off. I forgot almost an hour later, until the giggles and teasing started; the taunts. The more I blushed, the more my freckles stood out in stark relief, the more my skin started to echo my red hair. My twelve year old self vowed then and there to never let another person break up with me. I stuck to that child's vow, whether consciously or not, until that last day with you.
You couldn't have highlighted the end anymore if I'd woken to find you gone. For you, commitment was the beginning of the end. Marriage was just the step you took before divorce. And whether you knew that or not, I did.
Maybe if I'd cried. Or if I'd spoken more than the cold "no" you wouldn't have run. You might have stayed and we'd have talked it through. I used to torture myself with these thoughts, damning the reflexes that would instinctively shut my pain behind that wall of sheer ice. But I know now. We would only have delayed the inevitable.
Did you know how I dreaded our reunion? Me as the Director, you as my…inferior would never suit you. Surprising you like that was not my idea. I was quite happy to hide away until you wanted something from me. But your Agent had died, you were after the killer and it was my job to stop you. I had never succeeded in stopping you before but this time I promised myself I would.
In the end it doesn't matter that it was the only way, or that it was right. No matter my promises you and Ziva had still killed Ari and I had failed.
That was the first time I really stood back and wondered if I'd be strong enough for the job. It wasn't the pressure, it wasn't the fact of a woman "playing with the big boys", it was because I knew you could still play me the way you always have, and I wasn't strong enough to resist. But I stayed. You must remember my pride Jethro. I can't even count the number of times that same doubt has shadowed me this past year. In truth I don't want to count the weakness.
I almost cracked when a General asked me to direct him to Director Gibbs. He thought I was just one of the field agents under your command. He won't make the mistake again, but when I returned to my office the laughter rang out. I was glad for the almost soundproof walls, because the sound was hysterical, deranged, and I expected at any moment to be carted off to a nice padded cell. But no one came, and I continued laughing; it was either I laugh or cry, and the latter was unacceptable.
The overruling voice in my moment of madness, your voice, rung around and around my mind, bouncing against my walls, crashing through the order of my head until all that remained unbroken was the question.
"Who's in charge Jenny?"
The hair went first. Then I stopped doing things to please you, instead expecting you to impress me. I had to show you I wasn't working for you and eventually you took the hint. You started to think back, past the days we were together to the partnership we once shared, and again I made allowances. If it wasn't going to work with one of us ruling, then we could at least do it together.
"He thinks of me as a wife."
I had meant it then, I still do, after all, I almost was. But now I wonder which wife. To you am I like your first wife; the one you hid from us all? Or like the three after you can barely stand to see. We're closer than that, and yet the distance remains, and I know I was right.
If I had said "yes" all those years ago you would have treated me the way you did Diane or the others in the end, and I would rather have had none of you than be left with your distaste.
I don't blame you for anything; I never could after all, I knew what I was getting into and yet I fell in love with you anyway. Your leaving was the right thing for us both. It was hard at first, without you to watch my back and after one new partner after another I realised that while I could have been your partner forever, I couldn't remain a field agent much longer.
So I worked Politics, knowing eventually I would get somewhere. Not left behind, but moving forward.
After the revelations of the last few days I'm not surprised by the memories assaulting me now. It was all about bringing up the past after all.
When you remembered me, I knew exactly what your mind let you see. Not the partner, the Director, or even the prospective wife, but the lover. I know because your eyes were lit with the same fire, even if it was dimmed, that you had shown me after our first night together. The fire that ignited something deep inside me that until the moment of your recollection, I had thought long smothered.
I almost told Tony about us, can you believe it? Me. I haven't told anyone about our past before, although I wouldn't be surprised if Ziva knew more than she lets on. She's good at discovering hidden secrets within us all, but she's equally good at keeping everyone's secrets to herself.
She knew about your first wife didn't she? I know she did, the surprise just wasn't there in her eyes like it was in everyone else's.
"He always did like Red-heads."
I spoke that to Ducky. I think it illustrates just how shaken I was by your accident. If it wasn't enough that I ran from the White House, that I pulled one of the highest strings I had to get in to see you, I kept letting little bits like that slip out.
They know now, first Ziva, then Tony, Ducky, Abby, perhaps McGee is the only one that doesn't, but then maybe I'm simply fooling myself. They probably knew far earlier than that.
I should have been so happy an hour ago, to see you in my office, if not fully healed then well on the way, most of your memories returned. But after MTAC and their arrogant ignorance of your claims, I saw the determination disappear from your eyes.
I'd not noticed just how much a part of you that gripping need to succeed, to make things right had been. But your eyes looked empty without it. Looking at you was like looking into the eyes of a dead man. And with that explosion part of you had died.
So, to see you in my office, your blank eyes searching me, pleading me to understand and grant you this, I couldn't really be happy. And who was I to refuse you? I had only done it once; I don't have the strength to do it again. So I accepted your resignation, even if you worded it as retirement. You stood there, and I wanted to run into your arms and tell you not to leave me again. But you weren't the Jethro of Paris, Cairo or Serbia. You weren't even the Agent Gibbs who would stop at nothing for his team even if it was only revenge he could achieve. That man wouldn't have quit. Wouldn't have given up, and walked away at a time when his 'family' needed him. No, when you left my office, nothing but a "Goodbye Jenny" passing your lips, and you said so long to people who loved you as much as any lost child ever could, you were not the Leroy Jethro Gibbs we all knew.
I never said goodbye to you. Not when you left after the disastrous proposal, not when we would separate after some long undercover case and not as you walked to the elevator that would take you away from NCIS. No, I didn't say goodbye, because every time I don't you come back to me. And you will be back Jethro. When you've found yourself again, when one of us needs you, you'll be back. I'm so sure of this that I won't file your retirement, think of it as a vacation. And when that fire returns to your eyes, you'll come back and rightfully claim your desk. I'll ignore the yearnings you've pulled out of me again, and as Director I'll accept you back into our life. And if I let myself imagine that you'll eventually come back to me, well, a girl can dream can't she? There was no goodbye after all.
If one day we slip away,
And that may be in the cards,
We will know deep in our hearts
That there's no goodbye between us.
: fini :