This fic here, is a Christmas fic and was written as a Secret Santa on NFA for ZivaForever, my dear friend, who I was very happy to write it for. :) You rock, Emma. :D
I couldn't post it earlier because it was a Secret Santa. :) Enjoy.
In My Thoughts and In My Heart
Jenny Shepard starred out the window of her office. She wasn't really concentrating on the view, she was lost in thought. It would be Christmas tomorrow, and she, as she had done, for what seemed like an eternity, would be spending it alone. It certainly wasn't by choice, she would love to have someone to spend Christmas with. But as she hadn't been in a serious relationship for over six years, such a wish was growing more and more unlikely.
Jenny thought back to the last serious relationship she had been in. The face of Leroy Jethro Gibbs crept into her mind. Gibbs? What was she thinking? Then, as she thought about it the idea didn't seem that ridiculous. Could she really love him again? After all this time? Or was it a case of she'd never really stopped loving him in the first place? But was it too late to do anything about it? She had made her intentions quite clear to him, both in Paris and since she'd become Director. But was that really how she felt? She was reminded at that point of something someone told her a long time ago about following her heart, 'Maybe I should just listen to mine.' She thought.
Jenny's thoughts were interrupted by a knocking at her door. She was, at first, surprised by the sudden interruption. Then she realised that she was the Director of an armed federal agency, people would need to see her. She tore herself away from the window and went to answer the door. It was Ziva.
"Ziva," Jen said, surprised to see her, "What can I do for you?"
"You're my friend, Jenny, and I wanted to talk to you about something." Ziva replied.
Jenny felt flattered, "And you chose me?"
"You sound surprised." Ziva replied.
"I am, but flattered too. Why didn't you -"
"What? Ask Gibbs?"
"If you were me, would you?" Ziva asked, half as a joke.
"I see your point," Jenny replied, smiling, "So, what's on your mind?"
"I think the more appropriate question would be, who." Ziva answered.
Jenny saw the concern and worry in her friend's face, she didn't say anything, she just let Ziva continue.
Ziva saw that Jenny had understood what she'd meant, so she continued, "It's almost Christmas Jenny. And even though I am Jewish, Christmas is about spending time with family and loved ones, yes? And I don't have anyone to spend it with. My brother is dead, my father, well let's not even go there, as far as I am concerned he is not important in this conversation. And I haven't seen my mother in years, I don't even know where she lives." Tears started to form in the young woman's eyes, the pains of being without your family at Christmas were starting to take their tole on her. To Ziva, this holiday was idyllic, it was something she wished could be possible for her, but knew in her heart that it wasn't. As her family, if one could call it that, was almost non-existent.
Jenny pulled the younger woman closer to her, and hugged her as you would a child, "If it helps Ziva, I know how you feel."
Ziva broke the embrace and wiped the tears from her eyes, "You do? But how can you? I'm sorry, that last part wasn't suppose to come out."
Jenny let a small smile creep onto her face, she'd known Ziva David long enough to not be taken aback by her bluntness, "It's okay, Ziva. And yes, I do know how you feel." Jenny replied, she paused for a moment before continuing, as it was hard for her to expose her feelings like this, "I don't have anyone to spend Christmas with. I have no family. No one, to love me and no one to love." With the harsh realisation that came with speaking her concerns, Jenny, too, started to form tears in her eyes. Noticing this unusual vulnerability, Jenny quickly wiped her eyes.
"What about Gibbs, doesn't he love you?"
"Jethro?" Jenny replied, sounding surprised. "Ziva, that candle stopped burning years ago. Jethro doesn't love me."
"Really?" Ziva questioned, "Then why does he look at you all the time, like he does?"
Jenny really didn't feel up to talking about Gibbs, so she quickly changed the subject and diverted it back to Ziva, "Ziva, you have someone who loves you."
"Who, Jenny? Not you?" Ziva replied, jokingly.
Jenny let out a small laugh, "As much as I like you Ziva, you're not my type. No, seriously, I was talking about Tony."
"Tony?" Ziva replied, "Tony 'I can't commit to a relationship' DiNozzo?"
"The very same. Although I have a feeling he's not so commitment phobic anymore. And I've seen the way he looks at you Ziva, and the way you look at him. You're both attracted to each other, so what's the problem?" Jenny replied.
"Aside from Gibbs's Rule 12, Jenny? What do you think he would do?"
"Don't worry about Jethro, Ziva, he's my problem. You let me deal with him. You just follow your heart, you deserve it, and so does Tony. Especially after all he went through with Jeanne."
Ziva half smiled, even though the mention of her name, made Ziva feel like an arrow had been plunged into her heart. "You know what, Jen, you should take your own advice." She stopped to look at her friend, then said, "Go and talk to him, Jenny. You won't regret it."
"We'll see, Ziva."
"Thankyou, Jen, I think I feel better now."
"My pleasure. You know my door is always open for a friend." Jenny replied.
As Ziva turned to leave Jenny said, echoing her friend's words, "Talk to him Ziva, you won't regret it."
Ziva smiled as she exited Jenny's office.
After Ziva left Jenny decided to take a chance and do what Ziva had suggested, to follow her own advice, she was going to talk to Jethro.
It wasn't until much later in the day that Jenny decided to go and talk to Jethro. It wasn't that she hadn't wanted to after Ziva left but it was more a case of, she couldn't. She'd been interrupted by work, she'd had a few meetings on that day. When she did finally get the chance to talk to Jethro the bullpen was almost entirely deserted. Only a few agents were still at their desks, and of course, Gibbs was one of them. Unlike the other agents Gibbs was still working most of the others were finishing up and leaving. Jenny hadn't expected many people to be here at this late hour anyway, so she wasn't surprised. She watched from the stairs that led from her office to the bullpen. Jethro, as yet, hadn't spotted her, but she knew that he was either faking it or he would see her soon. He always had a way of doing that. Especially when you didn't expect it. By the time Jenny had reached Tony's desk, Gibbs had realised she was there.
"Jen?" He asked, sounding surprised, "What are you still doing here?"
"I could ask you the same question, Jethro." She replied.
"You could, but I asked you first." He replied.
"That's true, you did. But I'm the Director, I can stay for as long as I want. Go home, Jethro. It's Christmas Eve."
Gibbs looked at Jenny with a 'I-have-no-reason-to' look. He could tell she was only trying to help, he also knew that she, like him, didn't have anyone to spend Christmas with. Suddenly, he had the crazy notion of asking Jenny to come back with him to his house, then he thought she wouldn't be interested, because it was her who had ended things between them in Paris, "Jenny, what happened?" Remembering Paris made him question not just his motives, but Jenny's too.
"What do you mean, Jethro?"
"Us?" She was about to add, 'there has been no "us" for over six years why bring it up now?' But, she decided against being so harsh, it was Christmas Eve, after all.
"Yeah." He replied, simply.
"I made a choice, Jethro."
"Do you regret it, Jen?" He asked.
"You don't want me back, Jethro." Jenny replied, in a tone that was almost begging for a contradiction.
"What makes you say that? And you didn't answer my question."
"Yeah, you know that's something I tend to favour, Jen."
"Right. I get it, the question. Back then, I didn't. I felt it was the best thing to do, but now? After all this time? Honestly Jethro, yes I do." Jenny admitted.
After Ziva had left Jenny's office she took a moment to see if she was right about Tony. Ziva stood at the railing and looked down at the bullpen. She saw McGee, talking on the phone, probably about a case, Gibbs was attempting to figure out something in a file he had in front of him, "Probably one of Tony's case reports, I swear that man writes in hieroglyphics or something." She thought. She now turned her attention to that very man, Tony DiNozzo. As she stood there looking at him for a while, she could tell that Jenny had been right about her and Tony - well, at least from her own perspective anyway. As she continued to watch him butterflies began fluttering around in her stomach, she smiled, "Yes, Jenny. You were right." And then walked down the stairs and back to her desk.
Tony was the first to say something to Ziva when she re-entered the bullpen and sat down behind her desk, "And where did you run off to, Miss David?"
Ziva decided to play a little, teasing Tony was always so much fun and too good to pass up, "Wouldn't you like to know, Tony."
Tony grinned, "I see, so you don't want me to know. Why? What did you do?" He was falling straight into her trap, just how she liked it, and just like he usually did. It sometimes amazed her how easily one could lure Anthony DiNozzo into such a trap.
"Did I say that, Tony?"
"Well, you didn't not say that, Zee-vah."
"And why do you need to know?"
"Because." He was trying to come up with an answer, "Because I'm the Senior Field Agent."
"And that applies to this, how?"
Tony chose to ignore Ziva's question and continued to try and figure out where she'd been, "Well, you came from up stairs, so you either came from MTAC or the Director's office."
"Very good, Tony."
"Did I get it?"
Ziva laughed, he was so like a child sometimes, "Yes, Tony, you did."
"So which one was it? MTAC of the Director's office?"
"Option number two."
"Ah, so you went to see the Director? Why?"
"What is this Twenty Questions?"
"Answer the question, David."
"To talk to her."
"Ohh, about what?" Tony's face lit up as he thought up a list of many possible things they could have, 'talked' about.
"You," Ziva answered, "And Gibbs."
"Me? And Gibbs?" Tony said, as if to make sure he'd heard Ziva right.
"Yes." Ziva replied, fully aware of how Tony would easily misinterpret her response.
"What did you say about us?"
"Oh, stuff, you know."
"Is it really that important, Tony?" Ziva asked.
"Yes. It is, Zee-vah."
Deciding that this conversation was becoming too private to be spoken about in such a public place, Ziva suggested that they go somewhere else to talk about it.
Tony got up from his desk and walked over to Ziva's, "Where then?"
"Behind the staircase?" She suggested.
They then walked over to the slightly more secluded area. "So, continue." Tony said.
"What are you doing for Christmas?"
"You're changing the subject."
"Just answer it Tony, it's relevant, believe me."
"Well, I, uh, I haven't really thought about it."
"Tony, it's Christmas Eve, you can't tell me you haven't thought about it yet? It's not exactly like you have a long time to think about it."
"I guess I would just go out with some buddies, or something."
"That is my point, Tony."
"I'm not following."
"Of course you're not. Perhaps I'm not being clear enough. You have people to spend Christmas with, I don't. There, I said it. That's what I was talking to Jenny about." Ziva admitted.
Tony was beginning to understand now, "So that's what you were talking about?"
"I just said that, Tony."
"That's true, you did. Well, you could spend it with me." He said, almost as a question.
"What? Are you tugging my leg?"
"No I am serious. I mean, I don't really have anyone to spend Christmas with and if it's that important to you for you to have someone to spend it with, the I guess I'm the guy you want."
"That's very kind of you, Tony. But -"
"No buts, Ziva. We're spending Christmas together."
"Okay." She gave in, she decided she would like to find out if Jenny was right about Tony. She had been about Ziva.
Jethro looked up at his former partner, she had just spoken the words he was, up until this point, sure he'd never hear from her mouth. He showed his surprise and relief almost, in his response, "You do?" He asked.
"Yes, Jethro. I do." She replied.
"Jen, we can't go back to how it was though. I mean not after having been apart for so many years." He explained.
"I know that, Jethro. I know we can't just pick up from where we left off, too much has happened. We've become separate people now. But, having said that, there is no reason why we can't start over." Jenny explained.
"Jenny…" Gibbs wasn't sure if he was ready for this again. He'd already been there with her. And while he still cared a lot for her he was unsure if they could even have the same type of relationship that they'd enjoyed the first time. But, he did care for her, he did want to see if it could work again, he'd missed her. But he didn't know if she'd missed him as much, or at all, as he'd missed her. After all, she was the one who'd ended things back in Paris, "How long did you wait, before you started another relationship Jen, after Paris?"
"A while." She didn't really want to talk about it, but she could see that Gibbs wasn't going to let up.
"Jen, I missed you. You know that, I missed having you around. I missed your smell, your presence. When you were with me, it was like I could have my family back again."
"Let me finish, Jen. I have to ask you something, did you miss me? Did you miss us?"
"Jethro, you're making this difficult."
"It's not supposed to be easy, Jen."
"I know, I'm sorry."
"Are you going to answer my question, Jen?"
"Sorry. Yes, I will." She replied, "For a while I did, and then, as time went on you didn't occupy my thoughts as much as you had and eventually you were in my thoughts much less frequently and then when I became Director, it all came back to me. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to handle it to be honest. But soon enough it became too hard to ignore, I started to remember why I fell in love with you in the first place. And it started all over again. Jethro, I fell in love with you, I fell out of love with you and now I've fallen back in love with you. And I don't know what I should do about it. Should I follow my heart or my head?" Jenny was starting to cry now, the realisation was starting to hit her. She usually was more conservative with her personal feelings, even though she'd been telling them to someone who knew her better than she knew herself sometimes, it was still awkward and hard for her, and it made her feel vulnerable. Something which she wasn't used to.
"Listen to the one that makes the most sense." Gibbs replied.
"It's more complicated than that, Jethro."
"Is it, Jen? Do what you think is right, what you know is right. Don't put yourself through what you've been going through anymore, do something for you."
Jenny didn't answer, she looked over at the windows, it was raining. Without thinking how obvious her next statement would sound, she said, "It's raining." The sound of the rain was calming and put Jenny a little at ease, although she knew she'd feel better once she got out of the building and arrived home.
Expecting a remark back from Gibbs that went along the lines of, 'Yeah, I can see that, Jen.' Jenny turned her attention back to him.
Instead he surprised her by saying, "Do you have an umbrella, Jen?"
Jenny couldn't help but let out a small laugh at that, just because it was so far from what she had been expecting, then she answered, "Yes, I do." She then changed the subject, as the awkwardness of the situation was growing, "Are you finished now, Jethro. Are you ready to go home?"
Gibbs nodded and turned off the lamp on his desk, grabbed his coat and walked out with Jenny. They stepped into the elevator and didn't speak a word, and stayed that way until they arrived at the parking lot. "Goodnight, Jethro. Merry Christmas."
"Same to you, Jen."
By the time Jenny arrived home the rain had gotten heavier, she was thankful she remembered her umbrella. Once she parked her car she got out and tried to open her umbrella, after what seemed like three minutes fiddling with it, she decided to give up. It wasn't going to open. She was already soaked from the rain anyway, so what was a bit more water? She walked up to her front door and unlocked it. Once she was inside she took off her shoes and put them beside the door.
She quickly walked up the stairs, to avoid making the floor too wet. When she arrived at her bedroom she walked into her en suite bathroom and grabbed a towel and dried herself off. She then went over to the bath and turned the taps on, she decided to have a nice long, relaxing bath. When she saw that the bath had enough water in it she took off her soaked clothes and got into the bath. She let out a sigh of relief when her tired body entered the warm water.
Jenny knew it was time to get out when she noticed the water get cooler. She let the plug out and got out, grabbing her towel along the way. She dried herself off and wrapped the towel around her body and walked into her bedroom. She walked over to her closet and found some pyjamas and a dressing gown as well as some slippers, she put them on walked back down stairs to the living room. She decided it would be nice if she put the fire on, when she'd done that she heard someone knocking at the door. She didn't have to do much guessing as to who she thought it could be, she opened the door to find Gibbs standing there, just as she had suspected, dripping wet, of course.
"Jethro, come in, you look frozen." She said, allowing him space to step inside, "Jethro, why are you here?" She pulled off her dressing gown and wrapped it around her freezing friend.
"Thankyou." He replied. Jenny led him towards the living room, where the fire was going.
"You stay here, I'll get you something warmer to change into."
"I have some clothes in my car."
"Okay. I'm going to get them." Jenny grabbed a coat from her coat stand, so that she wouldn't look and feel like an idiot wearing her pyjamas outside. She grabbed an umbrella and ran out to Gibbs's car and grabbed the clothes.
She quickly ran back and handed them to Gibbs, "You can use the bathroom." She was just about to tell him where it was, but then she realised that he had been here before. "Right, you know where it is."
Gibbs smiled and walked off to the bathroom. It didn't take long for him to change. Soon enough he was sitting in front of the fire with Jenny.
"This is reminding me of old times." Jenny remarked.
"Is that a good thing?"
"Yes, Jethro. It is."
"Do you ever wish we'd stayed together, Jethro?"
"I wasn't the one who broke it off, Jen."
"I know that, Jethro. Believe me."
"Of course I do." Gibbs answering her original question.
"Jethro, I realised, recently, that I may have lost you forever. I'd really like to not make the same mistake as eight years ago, in Paris. I realised that after seeing you with Col. Mann, that I had blown the best thing that had ever happened to me and I don't want that to happen again."
"No one can replace you Jen, you have to know that."
"Just like no one can replace you, I believe that no one can ever take your place. But there is still the problem of work, I'm your boss, how can that work?"
"It may be hard, but not impossible."
"I've said it before and I'll say it again. Leroy Jethro Gibbs you are a strange man."
"At least I'm interesting."
Jenny laughed, "Yes, that's true. Thankyou for coming tonight, Jethro. Come to think of it, why did you come?"
Gibbs looked at Jenny, "To talk to you."
"I really appreciate it, thankyou."
Ziva opened her front door to find Tony standing there, "Tony what are you doing here?"
"Comin' to see you, now let me in, I'm freezing."
"Okay, you're in. What do you want?"
"Way to flatter a guy Ziva. I'm here because you want company at Christmas right? Or did I just dream that conversation we had today?"
"Unless I am mistaken, today is Christmas Eve, Tony."
"Yeah, so. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, it's all the same."
"Right." Ziva replied, slightly confused.
Tony noticed that Ziva had music on, "What's the music?"
Tony looked at her with a puzzled expression on his face.
"My French is better than my English, Tony."
"Right, of course, I knew that."
"Shall we go sit down or are we just going to stand here all night?" Ziva asked.
"We'll go sit." Tony said, following Ziva into the living room. "Nice place you've got here, Ziva." He said, sitting down on the couch.
"Thanks. So what are we going to do to? What does one usually do at Christmas?" Ziva asked.
"Christmas is great, especially when you're a kid, you know. Santa and everything, really exciting. One year my uncle came and dressed up as Santa and he had this huge dictionary, but we didn't know it was a dictionary, he told us it was a list of all of the kid's names in the world and it had whether they'd been naughty or nice and what they got as a present. It was fantastic, me and my cousins had a ball that Christmas. I was seven." Tony explained.
"Sounds like fun."
"Oh it was and every year we decorated the house with all these lights and we had the greatest tree. It was awesome."
Ziva didn't reply, hearing Tony's stories about Christmas was making the realisation about her own family, or lack there of, seem that much worse. She hadn't had the same experiences, but wished she had. She'd missed out a lot.
Tony started to realise Ziva's pain, "Oh I'm sorry Ziva. I should have thought before I said that. I'm sorry."
"It's okay, Tony. It was me who asked the question, I led myself into that one." She replied.
"Did you celebrate Hanukkah?
"Yes, when I was very young I can remember it. That was before my mother and father split. After then it wasn't such a memorable day. I'd rather not talk about it."
"Sometimes it's better to get things out, Ziva. It helps to talk about things."
"But you're not going to?"
"Is it that obvious?"
"To me it is, Ziva. I can see it in your eyes."
"Would you like coffee or something Tony?" Ziva asked, changing the subject.
Ziva got up and went to the kitchen and started making the coffee.
She came back not long after with two mugs full of coffee, she handed one to Tony and sat back down on the couch next to him.
They sat in silence drinking their coffee for a while before Ziva spoke, "Tony. Thankyou for coming tonight."
"Don't mention it. I mean what are friends for, right?"
"I'm serious, Tony. Do you know what it is like to spend every holiday without your family? Without anyone to make you feel better? Like you're completely alone in the world?" Ziva noticed a tear escape from her eye and wiped it away, "I'm sorry, I -"
"It's okay, Ziva. And I do know how you feel, at least a little bit. My parents never really got along and they separated pretty quickly, I spent my childhood trying to suck up to my father's wives so they'd like me. I saw my mother occasionally, when I could. But I spent most of my time at my father's house. It may have been grand but it wasn't like everyone else, it was lonely. I was an only child you see, so I had no one else to play with. I did talk to the maids and the butler, but they were no substitute for friends. It wasn't until college that I had my own real friends. From then I basically forgot my family and my life revolved around my new friends. It's been that way for a while. When I came to NCIS I made friends pretty easily, that'd never been a real problem, especially after college, and when Kate, joined it was like I had a sister to annoy, it was great. Then, you came along. When I met Jeanne my life really changed, despite who she was, she allowed me to love properly and after having experienced that I realised that I could get used to it."
"I'm sorry Tony."
"It's okay, it's in the past now."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, it's fine. Really."
"Okay. Tony? Um, how do you feel about me?"
"I'm sorry, was that too blunt?"
"So, how do you feel?"
"Well, you're my friend, and I respect you. Is this what you meant?"
"Yes, I was just checking." Ziva said, smiling. She remembered her conversation with Jenny earlier that day. She was right.
"Whether Jenny was right about you and me."
"About you and me?"
"I don't follow."
To illustrate her point more clearly, Ziva cupped her hands around Tony's face and kissed him quite passionately. Tony was a little surprised by Ziva's sudden move, but it didn't take him long to get over the shock of it, pretty soon he was kissing her just as hard, back.
"Do you see what I mean now, Tony?" She asked, breaking their embrace.
"Yep, it's cristal clear."
"Good." She smiled and kissed him again, "Merry Christmas, Tony."
"Merry Christmas, Ziva."
The scene in Jenny's living room was quite sweet, the fire was going and there was little light, she had a dimly lit lamp and the light from the fire to illumiate the room, she was curled up next to Gibbs on the couch and they had a blanket over their legs. Jenny's head was resting on Gibbs's chest. Her eyes were starting to grow heavier, she was falling a sleep.
Gibbs looked down at Jenny's sleeping form, she was so peaceful when she slept. It felt quite odd to be back in this position, after so many years of absence, but it felt right. And he wanted to hang onto it for as long as he could.
Soon enough he heard Jenny's grandfather clock strike twelve, it was midnight, "Merry Christmas, Jen." He said, quietly and kissed her on the head. He then closed his own eyes and rested his head next to Jenny's.
She would forever be in his thoughts and in his heart.