Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine, the relevent episode plot sure isn't, even I'm not as mean to my favourite characters as those writers!
Spoilers!: Fifth Season Finale!
This is for Isa, who asked for "something, anything Jen-based, preferably Jibbs, because I miss her already". Thanks goes to Ellie, for being the amazing beta she is.

Red is Blue

You watch through tired eyes as she approaches; hips swaying to a rhythm all her own. Her eyes are bright; glowing with an inner power you're only beginning to realise has been missing these last months.

Her hair's the rich red of your dreams, and for one crazy, insane, painful moment you consider asking her when she started dying it again. The words flutter and fail on your tongue, your lips stay closed, withholding a last minute freedom.

She's here, and you're sure there are better things to ask her about. You just can't remember them right now. They will come to you, they have to. You're Leroy Jethro Gibbs; no one but this woman has ever rendered you speechless, and even she has failed on occasion. You may be a man of few words, but you don't want to say with silence, what you know she should hear with words. Not today. You just need to remember.

The bourbon dulls your sharp mind, but the burn brings clarity. It's a paradox that could swing either way, so you take another shot and hope for the best.

You blink back the blur and she's closer now, close enough that you can see the tiny faults that make her perfect. The eyelashes that twist and twirl no matter how she brushes them straight. The freckle just below her right eye that never yields to make-up. The scar often swallowed by her smile that tells of childhood fevers and marks to be scratched.

She seems clearer to you than she ever has before; a fixed point while the room around her shifts and darkens, fading into inconsequence.

You lean back into your chair as she slides full of grace atop your desk. Long smooth pale legs crossing at the thigh and dropping down, down towards the floor, feet hanging and swinging with every breath.

Yours or hers you're not sure. You have no curiosity to discover.

You open your mouth, the words here now, in your head, aching to be released, but she stops you. With a smile. A soft finger pressed with demand against your lips.

Her eyes flash, lashes flicker and a small laugh like spun glass erupts from her own lips.

"You are going to be late."

Her voice catches your own and holds it prisoner more effectively than any alcoholic daze. There have been so many times you've thought the last you would ever hear her voice. And so you savour it, like fine wine, only more, because wine can be replaced.

You don't know how to respond, anyway. She's right of course, and there's no pull in you to try and argue. Not now. So you stay silent, you will her finger to remain in place and with your eyes you try to absorb her into you.

You wonder if you're paralysed or if it's just her effect because no matter how much your mind screams at you to touch her. Hold her. Take her. You don't move passed the faintest twitch. The smirk that briefly twists her features tells you the truth.

The words are here again, battling hard in a war they have already lost. This is her show. You're just the audience of one, held willingly captive as she owns the stage.

Her finger moves, you want to chase it, but she brings it up to your hair, the others following. They tangle, stroke and brush, and if you could, you'd lean into the practised movements.

Her other hand tugs at the empty glass you're sure you should have dropped hours ago. It makes no sound as it lands on your desk, and then the hand is back and tracing silent words across your cheek.

She leans in close enough that her hair whispers secrets in the wind of your breath and you grasp her scent to you and hold it close to your heart. You'd do the same to all of her, if she'd ever allow it.

"They'll never get it right if you're not there." The words sit like ash across your nose and you refuse to inhale the truth of them. You want to not care. She's here, that's all that should matter. She bends to your delusions; there's a first and last to everything, this is both.

Her lips ghost your own, you know she's here, so close, but she leaves the barest space between you. There's so much in that space; lies and promises and regrets you still refuse. This is your wall, made by you both. Invisible but holding. She can't push passed it, and you won't. Not now. Your desires mean little, your wishes even less. Even her crystal tears pause before they reach you. Frozen chips against her cheeks.

"You know why, Jethro. And you will forgive me."

You breathe once for every three chimes of your heart and hope she can read the nod you can't make. One hand slips down to press against your chest; burning through layers, imprinting itself in five lines against a part of you no one else will ever touch.

Your hair unwinds from her fingers, slowly, with a reluctance you know well. You beg it to knot, trying to tie her in place. She slips free with a shake of her head, reading your mind as only she can. You were good partners for a reason.

It takes you a moment to realise her hand has left your chest; it still burns, aches, as though she's here, when she's not. You're sure it's going to feel that way for more moons than you'll dare to count.

Your eyes blur and it's not with a liquid you can pour. She's going to drain you and you won't mind.

Each step away from you plucks strings like a harp, but the only music to be heard are the notes of her footprints. A sonata that brings pain and despair with no hope of a happy ending. Fairytales don't happen for you, you see only the trailer; the prologue to a different story. You curse the author that writes her in and out of your life.

She turns at the last desk of the row. Her smile shows pain for the first time, and her hair lightens, skin tightening into the mask she wore before you refused to see her. Her eyes beg you, piercing the wall you both built, slicing angry scars into the last of your resolve.

"Forgive yourself, Jethro. Do that for me."

And you will, for her, always for her. You blink because you can, and she's gone. The lights glare bright and unwelcome, stealing away the vision you want to return.

She's gone. You burnt her house in a fiery tribute to her life and your decisions.

You lit a match to the letter she touched only two words to. Words that told you more than you ever wanted to hear.

You're late to the ending of one more chapter, the final lines hurried and strewn across blank pages you'll never now fill. You're late and she's early; there should be more but you won't get it.

She's gone. And all you have is the fragrance of her love and the bitter tears of your own.

And the promises you made without knowing to the last traces of the life you could have had.

She'll hold you to them, you know, and you turn your back to the emptiness of the building that once breathed her life.

There isn't a rule for this that you can follow or break. But there is a promise you won't fully surrender to, and words that break the commandment you teach the world to abide. She gave her fading life for yours and it should never have been that way.

Her lips didn't touch you, but they seared you with truth and trust. Silver doors send your image back to you and you watch the distant figure over your shoulder as you sob your penance to an empty cage. It's not enough, but it's all you have. And it's too late, but there's no more time. And it's her, and you and it was never meant to end, but it did, and this bit, this tiny big part you can compose yourself with tears and blood and love you never spoke.

"I'm sorry Jen, I'm so sorry."

The rivers of pain stop before they can hit the floor, and you're sure she's there behind you, beside you, beneath you and nowhere at all and it's almost enough to make you break.

But she holds you together as she tears you apart, and you know what she wants even as her wishes have shattered to crimson drying on a stone floor.

So you pick up the pieces of yourself, and bind them with sugar and string. She needs you, even though she can't, and you'll do this for her; you won't buckle and bend. You'll do this. For her. Always for her.


Please let me know what you think.
And if anyone is interested, I am working on Perfect Lie again, but I won't be posting until it's all complete, in the hope of staving off another Hiatus on it.