So I've been thinking about this story for a while now, knowing it had to be something that involved one perfect line from Casablanca.. as always it didn't turn out as I expected it too. but I think I'm happy with the way it turned out :)
This one is for Aly, V and Ellie.. xx
"Once upon a time I would have asked you to stay, and I wouldn't have taken "no" for an answer."
"What happened Jethro."
"You made a choice."
"I had to do what was best for me, I still do."
Her home was quiet, nothing like it had been the last night. Even if it had been just that one night, she had gotten used to having a kid around.
She curled up on the couch, with a soft blanket covering her legs and a big bowl of popcorn on the table next to her. Watching as the opening credits ran through the screen.
Carson had recommended her this movie, said his mother loved it a lot and that he thought she would share the sentiment.
For the next hours, she was lost in a world of Ingrid and Humphrey, of Ilsa and Rick. And he'd been right, she loved it.
Usually she wasn't much of a movie person, she preferred a good book at any time. But the story in this movie was strangely familiar. But she couldn't quite place what made her feel that way.
She wiped away the tear that ran down her cheek as Rick and Ilsa said goodbye. And then that line came, and her hand stopped in mid air.
"We'll always have Paris."
Finally the last parts of the puzzle clicked. Just as fast as it appeared, she shrugged it away again, her and Jethro's situation didn't even come close to theirs, it was not like Jethro still loved her, just like Ilsa loved Rick, he had made that part painfully clear last night.
Thinking about that conversation, she wished she could take it all back, hating the fact she made herself that vulnerable in front of him. Hating her decision. Hating the rejection.
She told him she had to do what was best for her. Now, she wasn't really sure what was. The last nine years, she had lived for her job, putting her personal life on a backburner most of the time. Starting when she left him in Paris. And what had it brought her?
A great job, but not the happiness she expected. Not the happiness she had when she was little, not the happiness she had shared with him.
Maybe it was time to let her heart lead the way for a while, to find something that was good for her.
Refreshed, she started her next day of work, entering the elevator to get up to her office. Just before the doors close a hand appeared between them. Gibbs stepped inside and after a short greeting the two continued their elevator ride in complete silence.
She hadn't even noticed that she was humming until he said something.
"As time goes by, isn't it?"
"What? Oh yes, it looks like it got stuck in my head after seeing Casablanca last night."
"I never pegged you for a fan of black and white."
"I'm not, but Carson recommended it and I just liked it."
He nodded in understanding. "Shannon used to love that movie too, the song was one of her favourites."
She was stunned, it's the first time he told her something about his past, the one he'd shared with Shannon and Kelly.
"I'm sorry, I could stop if you want?"
"No, it's alright, it's nice to hear that song again." Their eyes met for just a second and she understood. And without further comment she kept humming the song until he arrived at the right floor, the one leading to Abby's lab. With a rare, genuine smile, he left the elevator.
She watched him walk away as the doors closed again.
Later that night, they head for a bar, together with Ducky. He had invited them, as some sort of anniversary of their time together. Ten years after 'the boat incident' as it was now referred to.
They'd only been there for an hour, remembering old times when Ducky got a call from his mother. Apparently something was wrong with the cable and she couldn't watch her wrestling game. He quickly excused himself and went home. Leaving Jenny and Jethro behind.
The two of them continued to sip their drinks in silence, neither quite sure what to say. Then, a song began to play. They both looked up in recognition as the familiar notes filled the bar.
She searched his expression to find any indication of how he felt. Not sure if he was still okay with it.
He smiled at her, reassuringly. Gladly, she returned his smile. He stood up from the chair and offered her his hand to dance. Without little hesitation she accepted. Knowing this is a chance for her to find out once and for all what was best for her, what could make her truly happy.
The first time their hands touch, a wave of warmth travelled through her body. She was happy to see how well her hand still fit in his. She followed him to the dance floor, and they dance, just for once not around each other, but with each other, in complete synchrony. Swaying softly to the music as the tones travel through the bar.
It's still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by