Summery: It all started at a stormy night and you can read about it in the first part of this "No-Regret"-series: "I Don´t Regret a Thing".
This new part of my "No-Regret"-series takes place between "I Don't Regret a Thing" and "Deja-Vu" and deals with how Jenny had found out about Abby's and Gibbs's relationship.
Disclaimer: I don´t own the characters. But I once more needed to borrow them for this sequel.
Spoilers: None as far as the show is concerned.
Beta: Pretty Dead Flower - thank you so much for your great advice!
Timeline: While reading this, please keep in mind that "Safe Places" takes place 4-5 months after "I Don't Regret a Thing" and about four months before "Deja-Vu". This story gives an explanation to what we learn at the end of "Déjà-Vu": Jenny had by chance found out about Abby and Gibbs being in a serious relationship and she had promised to not tell anyone about the two of them.
Abby and Gibbs managed well to not let show that they were together. Having already met in secret before this was called a serious relationship, it wasn´t a real challenge for them now. Thus their relationship went unnoticed.
About four months after Gibbs had managed to frighten Tony and McGee away and out of Abby´s apartment -- and with this prevent them from understanding what was going on between Abby and him -- Jenny Shepard, Director of NCIS and former love-interest of Gibbs, had found out at the end of November.
By pure chance.
1. My Hands Are Tied
One day, at the end of November, an infuriated female figure left the elevator on the uppermost floor of NCIS-Headquarters and stormed towards the Director's office. Although being an employee at NCIS, the young woman was a rarely seen visitor to this level.
Down in the squad-room Gibbs had noticed what had happened upstairs and a frown had settled on his forehead. He prepared himself for whatever trouble was going to come up.
Not even five minutes later the phone on Gibbs's desk went off. With a sigh of having his fears confirmed, he picked up the receiver.
"I am going to kill her, Gibbs!" Abby's outraged voice reached his ear, making him increase the distance between the receiver and his ear immediately.
"Abs, calm down...," Gibbs finally brought the speaker to his mouth, but he had to find that the caller had already hung up.
Gibbs sighed. Whatever this was about, he would have make his way to the Director's office to find out. He left his desk and, followed by the stares of his team who definitely must have heard Abby's shouting, he rushed up the stairs.
When Gibbs stormed in, Cynthia opened her mouth to say something, but she was cut short by Gibbs.
"The Director is awaiting me, Cynthia," he said without even looking at Cynthia and he opened the door to Jenny's office to find Jenny and Abby stare daggers at each other. Trying to keep at least some of his self-control, he took a deep breath and slowly closed the door. He resisted the urge to cross the room and get over to Abby.
"What the hell...?" he instead wanted to know in an angry tone.
"Gibbs, tell her I won't continue working in my lab if my instruments are not safe! I won't even set one single foot in my lab again until someone made sure!" Abby sounded pretty pissed.
"Jethro, I'm sorry. My hands are tied," Jenny told Gibbs in a calm voice.
"What a nice metaphor, Gibbs," Abby remarked, biting back a grin.
But Gibbs recognized the faint twitching in the corners of Abby's eyes and he throws her a warning look. Abby swirled around and tramped to the door where Gibbs was blocking her way. They kept staring at each other for a minute in utter tension until Gibbs eventually stepped aside to let Abby pass and walk out the door, slamming it behind her.
Jenny knows, Gibbs thinks highly of his team-members and he would defend them to the bones. And Abby -- Abby has always enjoyed his special protection.
"Jen, would you please be so kind as to let me know what all this is about?" Gibbs eventually wants to know.
"Miss Sciuto has applied for a safety check of her lab equipment including an exchange of all safety working parts. I can't give my okay to that. We need to take the financial shortcut into consideration. ... . I can't admit to this until next year." She handed the sheet of paper she held in her hand to Gibbs, who was impatiently waving his hand since she had picked it up.
Gibbs squinted at the sheet, increasing the distance between the page and his eyes as much as possible until Jenny cleared her throat, making him look up at her to find she was presenting him her glasses.
He took them with an embarrassed look and read.
"This says: Lab equipment has to be checked at least once a year. The check has already been postponed and is now overdue for more than half a year. If safety working parts are not exchanged regularly, the manufacturer does not accept responsibility in case something should happen." Gibbs took a deep breath.
"Jen!" he then exclaimed, his face twisted in shock as he took off her glasses, fighting to keep calm.
"Jethro, I have to respect the financial situation," Jenny lowly told him again.
"Jen, you are Director of this 'company'. Abby is right. If her lab equipment isn't safe, she won't set her feet in her lab again," Gibbs´ voice clearly showed his anger.
"Je...," Jenny tried to interrupt him, but this only added to his anger.
"I'll promise!" With this Gibbs left, slamming the door like Abby had done before.
Being completely at a loss, Jenny shook her head and the next day she once more had to find, Gibbs's manners were not only rubbing off on his agents but now on Abby as well. Abby did not come into work the next morning and Jenny decided to keep quiet and wait if things would get sorted out.
But things did not sort out. Of course not! Abby didn't come into work the next day and the day after that day as well. Jenny phoned her and offered her to see what she could do if Abby came back to work. But Abby stayed to her words and her simple answer was, "No!"
Thus, Jenny instantly ordered Gibbs to her office.
"She cannot do that, Jethro," Jenny started calmly. Inwardly, however, she was tensed and not sure how much it would take for her to let show how upset she really was.
"She can!" Gibbs replied, equally calm. But other than Jenny he was completely composed.
"How am I going to explain this to...?" Jenny knew, this was not going to be easy.
"To whom, Jen? You are the Director."
Jenny felt that Gibbs was turning against her. "But she can't just stay away from work. You know that, but you stand up for her against me nevertheless! What's wrong with you, Jethro?"
"Deduct it from her paid vacation," was Gibbs's honest suggestion and without another word he simply left the office.
Jenny gave up. To discuss things with Jethro and win the discussion had always been her weak spot. Moreover she knew that he was right, and she hated it.
Jenny would have to talk to Abby once again. She was the best lab tech NCIS had and she didn't want to loose her. Maybe they could come to a compromise if she talked to her in private.
Jenny had then without success tried to reach Abby all day long to ask her for a private conversation. So she decided to look in on her after work to talk to her. She drove up to her place, rang the bell a countless times, but Abby seemed to not be at home.
To be continued…
If you want to know what happens next ... don´t hesitate to come back!