This is it - the final chapter! I think I should start shamelessly plugging the sequel - The Embassy Incident - which I should start uploading in a few days.
Thanks again to my wonderful beta Kristen. And thanks to everyone who has reviewed or added me to their alerts. A final thanks to everyone who has read this far - please join me again for the sequel!
It had been a week since Vance had been taken away. Gibbs' new team had been disbanded, while his old team was sent for. McGee had bought all his belongings back into the squad room within ten minutes, and insisted on being the one to call Tony to tell him his time on the ship was over. DiNozzo's cries of joy could be heard from the catwalk.
Ziva had been the next one back. Three hours after Lily had left, she had walked into the squad room and glared at Agent Richards, who was taking her time to clear her desk. McGee had hugged her until he had realized that hugging an assassin probably wasn't a good idea, but she hadn't minded. She was overjoyed to be back.
Tony had arrived two days later. Abby had been waiting in the squad room and attacked him the moment he stepped off the elevator. After fighting off an ecstatic Goth, he had head-slapped McGee and shot his best smile at Ziva.
Gibbs had never felt so relieved in his life. Everything was back to normal. His team were in one piece and back together. The bickering had started within five minutes, but Gibbs hadn't stopped it, reveling in the noise he had missed.
He had barely seen Jenny, although he was sure that it was she. She'd had a bullet through her left shoulder in the fight, but it was healing well. She had been rushed off her feet with not only the normal work of the agency, but the reviewing of every decision Vance had made. He'd managed to corner her for two minutes in the elevator one morning and apologized for burning her house down. He'd offered to put her up; she had admitted that she was staying at Lily's until she found the time to go house hunting.
True to her word, Abby organized a small party in Gibbs' basement. Abby left the Naval Yard early to decorate the basement with homemade banners, most of which read 'You're alive!'. Tony bought several boxes of pizza to share, Ducky bought the beer, McGee managed to locate enough chairs for everyone and Ziva helped him to move them all down the steps. Jenny had been forbidden from supplying anything, while Gibbs was supplying the basement.
While helping herself to her fourth slice of pizza, Abby started to ask questions. "Why did the CIA fake your death?"
Jenny poured herself some more bourbon. "They owed me a favor."
"But why fake it in the first place?"
"I don't know."
"How can you not know?"
Gibbs was following the exchange carefully. He knew that Jenny wouldn't name Lily, but he was curious as to her answer.
Jenny shrugged. "I got a call asking me if I wouldn't mind having my death faked. I was told it was risky, but the other option was an unknown number of gunmen coming after me. It wasn't a hard decision."
"I thought faking your death was Operation Lazarus," McGee joined in.
She turned to him. "I honestly don't know. I never heard an operation name."
"You made us think you were ill," Abby pointed out.
"I deliberately didn't tell you! Only Ducky needed to know," she looked over at the Scotsman, "And I didn't like lying to him but I didn't have a choice."
"You could have read him in," Abby complained.
"The CIA wanted everyone's reactions to be as real as possible, so that nobody would figure it out. I'm sorry Ducky, but they wouldn't let me tell you."
He nodded sagely, knowing that he wasn't being told the whole truth, which couldn't be spoken in front of the team.
"I thought I'd killed you," Tony confessed.
Jenny smiled softly. "Apparently there was someone at the gas station to slit your tires if you needed to be slowed down. And I heard a few plans to Taser you if necessary, although I tried to shoot them down."
"It was a good thing we didn't follow you then," Tony grinned.
"What if we had made it to the diner?" Ziva queried.
"I don't want to know," Jenny shuddered, unsure how far Lily would go to control the mission.
"Why are we worrying about such dark things," Ducky interrupted, "When everyone is well and we have lots of food?"
Abby snagged another beer. "Did everyone hear about Agent Wofford and the child in the burning building?" she asked. "I heard that last year, she gave mouth to mouth to a cat."
McGee was flabbergasted. "Seriously?"
Everyone burst out laughing.
A few hours later, when the team and Abby had left, Lily arrived. "Sorry I'm late," she called as she made her way down the steps.
"A couple of minutes earlier and you would have run into Tony," Gibbs warned her.
"I've been sitting outside for hours; I watched him leave," she informed him.
Ducky turned to look at her. "You're still dressing identically I see."
He received two identical glares.
Gibbs nudged him. "One, never ever use the words 'identical' or 'twin'. Two, they don't dress identically."
"But they're wearing –"
"But they're –"
"Doctor Mallard," Lily cautioned, "We don't dress identically. We pick our clothes individually; it's not my fault if she chooses to wear the same things as me."
"You are twins though?" He was getting confused.
"Technically. The word makes it sound as though we're the same." She reached the workbench and poured herself a mug of bourbon.
"You are the same," he noted.
"We look the same," she corrected. "But we're different. For example, Jethro isn't my type." She smiled at Gibbs.
"I'm so glad," Gibbs muttered.
Jenny giggled, which she turned into a hacking cough when her sister glared at her.
"Either of you two want to fill me in?" he asked.
They all sat down again. "What do you want to know?" queried Lily.
"Which one of you gave me that vial of blood?" questioned Ducky.
"Me. Sorry. Only person I could pass off as Jenny had DMD, so Jenny needed to have it."
Jenny glared at her sister. "You refused to tell me what was going on! You said Ducky ran a few tests on you and I just had to nod and agree with everything he said!"
"If I told you the truth, would you have gone along with it?"
"Of course not."
Gibbs interrupted the glaring match. "Why exactly did Vance try to kill Jen?"
Lily grinned. "Got a call one day from my wonderful sister. She thought that Vance was selling secrets but couldn't prove it. I thought I'd mix my current operation with it and bring him down."
"He thought I made a copy of the paper with my suspicions on it," Jenny recalled.
"Because I removed your file. He was on edge anyway, and panicked when he couldn't find it. He started making mistakes. Slightly off topic though; Vance sold Natasha the locations of you two and Agent Decker." She nodded towards Jenny and Gibbs.
"You could have warned Decker," Gibbs pointed out.
Lily disagreed. "Decker wasn't my problem. A contact of mine got wind of what was happening. I found out about the diner and told Jen to make for there."
"How did the gunmen find out?"
"I tipped them off."
"I needed them to show up at the right time! There was a tracker on their car; when they got close, Jen sent that erm…"
"Agent Franks," her sister supplied.
"Agent Franks out for water and we dealt with the gunmen."
"You ran off, killed Rebecca Kain and switched the bodies at the airport," Gibbs finished.
"Not bad," she admitted.
"Operation Lazarus? Was that the plan to fake my death?" Jenny asked.
"No. Lazarus is classified. Can't tell you anything on that. Can't tell you why we faked your death instead of dealing with the gunmen ourselves. I can tell you that going after Vance was a side benefit of it. Your McGee's a good hacker though."
"What makes you think it was McGee," Gibbs inquired.
"Last year, when he was snooping round Operation Lodestone, a bot got into your network. We've been keeping an eye on your activities ever since."
"Lodestone," repeated Gibbs. "You got your car bomb explosives from there?"
"No. Found a supplier who offered me a good deal."
"Interesting. The same explosives were used to blow up various arms dealer's cars."
She froze. "You're kidding."
"What's going on?" her sister asked.
Lily recovered quickly. "Classified. I need to sort this out." She almost ran out of the basement.
Jenny and Gibbs shared a look.
"If it's classified, she won't tell me," Jenny reminded him.
Ducky stood up. "I think I'll follow her example and head home," he told them. "Mother will be wondering where I am."
They smiled at him. "Good night, Duck," Gibbs offered.
"Good night, Ducky," Jenny repeated.
They sat in the basement together, sipping bourbon. The silence between them was comfortable. He observed her as she looked around, searching for any changes made since the last time she had visited.
He was so happy that she was okay. When he had heard of her death, he thought that his heart would break. He never took the chance to tell her how he felt; he assumed that they had forever.
He had been haunted by visions of her when he slept, begging him to save her. Even in the cold light of day, he had seen her in every redhead at every corner. He never thought that anyone would compare to Shannon, but he had been wrong.
Her eyes darted around the basement, spotting the little things that had changed. A new boat had been started; she wondered what he planned to call it. There were a few empty bottles of bourbon in the corner, tucked out of sight.
She had been worried about him when she had been 'dead'. She was scared as to how he would take it after Franks had talked to her in the diner. She hadn't dared to think that he still cared about her. If she had known, she would have ignored the orders and told him what was happening.
She had missed him. Her heart ached every day since leaving him in Paris, but she had done what she thought was right at the time. Not a day had passed since that she hadn't regretted her actions, hadn't wanted to crawl back to him and plead with him to forgive her.
"I missed you."
THE END - until next time!