Title: The Haunting
Rating: K Plus
Disclaimer: I do not own NCIS I just borrow the characters.
Summary: Jenny has a late night visitor.
For Cricket244, who gave me this idea and Verity as her welcome back present.
Jennifer Shepard was an incredibly hardworking woman. She had to be as the first female Director of an armed agency. It was not unusual for her to leave her office around dawn or come in at dawn for that matter. However she had gotten sick of her office décor and decided that if she was going to be up all night working, she may as well be comfortable and therefore had relocated her work to her study in her own house. She could wrap herself up in a blanket, wear sweats and no makeup and have her giant polka dot coffee mug if she so desired, which she did. She worked steadily as the grandfather clock chimed throughout the night announcing the hours that passed. It was only about three o'clock in the morning when she was starting to run on low that she heard it. At first she thought she was hearing things and looked up glancing at the house. Nothing. Then it came again.
"Hello?" Came a little girl's voice. Jenny sat stalk straight and turned cautiously toward the window her hand on her gun. "Hello."
"Who's there?" Jenny called out loudly.
"Hello." The voice was creeping her out and she swore there was a little girl below her window. Jenny felt her throat dry as she heard the voice again. She knew there weren't any children on her street, and she really, really didn't want to believe in something…not normal. The voice came again and it sounded like it was right in her ear. Jenny jumped to her feet and ran to the entryway clutching her cell phone in her hand. She had without thought hit speed dial one and didn't notice until she heard the voice on the other end.
"JEN!" She starred at the phone in her hand in surprise at his voice coming through it.
"Jeth…Jethro," she stuttered happy to hear his voice.
"Jen what's the problem?"
"It… could you…come over, please?"
"Jenny are you okay?"
"It's three in the morning!"
"Jethro!" Her voice was a mix between panic and whine as she eyed the window behind her desk.
"Alright, I'll be right there," he sighed. She had no chance to say anything as he clicked off and so she moved back to her study cautiously, only to hear it again. The soft little girl voice, but there was something creepy about it, something that didn't make her feel warm and fuzzy. Little warning bells went off in her head and she felt cold despite the warm blanket wrapped around her. Ten minutes later she heard her front door lock clicking and she bolted from her hiding place straight into the entryway and into the solid mass that was Gibbs.
"Jethro!" She moved to almost hide behind him, surprising him. He had caught her whirling mass and was glad to see she was in one piece.
"Yea hi to you too, what's wrong?" She pointed toward her window in her study.
"There's something out there," she said.
"Okay…" Gibbs drawled. If Jenny was scare of a little animal he was never going to let her live it down. He carefully moved to her study and pulled the curtain away, he saw nothing there and glanced over at her bourbon bottle trying to determine if she had perhaps imagined all of this. Jenny caught his glance and glared at him.
"Jethro! I'm serious!"
"Oh I believe you," he assured nodding his head. "Now what was it you heard?"
"It was like this little girl, she kept saying hello."
"A little girl." Jenny nodded. "At three o'clock in the morning?" She nodded again. "Jen…are you feeling okay?"
"I'm fine, just spooked now what is it?
"Jen there's nothing there its probably just your water softener or heater or something."
"Or something? Jethro I've lived in this house for nearly thirty years trust me its not the water softener!"
"Jenny there's nothing out there, you wanna look for yourself?" She shook her head. "Well I'm fairly certain you're safe considering I haven't hear a single thing. It's probably just your imagination."
"Did that ever make Kelly feel better?" He looked confused. "Cause its not working with me."
"It's really just your imagination," he tried again walking towards her when he heard something.
"Hello." It was clearly a little girl voice and he glanced only to find Jenny coming back from putting her gun away.
"Ah Jenny, what exactly did you hear again?"
"Hello." Jenny shrieked jumping at Jethro. He caught her and barely avoided the both of them falling.
"Believe me now?"
"It's just the wind. Yea, the wind."
"If it was the wind, wouldn't I have heard it before?" She questioned.
"Well I mean when was the last time you were awake at three in the morning?"
"Last night. Didn't hear it then."
"So what do you want me to do about it?"
"Get rid of it!" Jenny demanded still clutching her arms around his neck.
"It's just a voice. We're probably just both exhausted and hearing things."
"Both hearing the same thing at the same time? Uh huh."
"Hey it's the best I got."
"Jethro…what if…what if the house is haunted?"
"Now I'm questioning how much you've had to drink."
"Nothing, but that's sounding appealing." She just wondered how she would get to the drink cabinet if that meant detaching herself from Gibbs.
"No drinks for you," he warned trying to move out of the study and away from the creepy area, it was difficult with her weight attached to him. She was showing no signs of letting go anytime soon.
"I'm not hallucinating!" She protested.
"Hey I know, but seriously what would Tony say if we told him we heard a ghost."
"Ziva would believe me."
"Well that's Ziva, she's trained in the other stuff," he replied trying to move again. She clung tighter. "Jenny I can't breathe." She loosened her grip barely but he was surprised she didn't move away.
"Well I can't have you die on my rug, at least not before you find out what's making that noise and make it stop."
"Jenny it's almost four in the morning, we'll check tomorrow, there wasn't anything there. Maybe your screen is loose or something. I'll fix it tomorrow."
"Fine. Fine. Can't you check it now?" She pleaded glancing over his shoulder.
"Get some sleep Jenny," he said.
"Um…maybe later," she replied.
"You know why exactly were you up at three in the morning?"
"I was working," she responded. "And then that damn noise…ghost. Whatever it is I want it to stop!"
"Okay Jenny," he sighed. He'd forgotten how she got when she was overtired. "Come on, a little sleep never hurt you." She yawned surprised at how tired she was all of a sudden, but still scared, though she'd be damned if she'd admit it.
"I don't want to sleep. Not with that thing in my house."
"Jenny there's nothing here, okay?" He coaxed, leading her towards the stairs.
"You heard it and I heard it, how is that nothing?"
"You get some sleep you won't notice it," he reasoned. She dragged her feet near the door not wanting to be left alone. Gibbs saw her glance from doorway to staircase and surprised himself by nudging her in the direction of the stairs and following her. She seemed surprised as well but tried not to show it. He didn't quite understand it, on the one end it wasn't like they hadn't slept together at some point, on the other it had been six years since the last time. However he realized that he hadn't hesitated to jump up and coming running when she called at three in the morning, the fact that she had called him had to account for something. The fact that she had also practically jumped into his arms when he arrived suggested that she was okay with the close contact. It's not like she doesn't have a guest bedroom, he sighed. He paused in the doorway to her bedroom and tried his hardest not to just walk in.
"You can come in Jethro," she said looking a bit confused as to why he stood in the doorway.
"You get some sleep, I'll stay down stairs okay?"
"Jethro…" she sighed exasperated. "Really it's a king-size bed."
"Fine, sleep on the couch, kill your back. Don't blame me."
"Don't hog the sheets."
"You do," he muttered as he watched her curl up on her side. He moved cautiously to the other side and slid in between the sheets. He'd forgotten how comfortable her mattress could be. He really should get himself one of these he decided. Not that he would spend any more time in his bedroom if he did. Even as Jenny had called he had been sleeping under his boat. This was the first time he'd been in a bed in months. He felt her shift around and sighed exasperated. "Jen close your eyes and think about something happy and it will go away."
"I can still hear it."
"Now that IS your imagination working, just close your eyes, take a break for a bit." He felt her move and felt her eyes studying him. "What?"
"It's not working." He could hear the faint fear in her voice and had to smile faintly. The big bad Director, scared of a ghost, he was going to love holding this over her. "I know what you're thinking."
"Might I point out that I was not the only one who jumped three feet in the air, that rite also belongs to the big, bad, scary Marine/NCIS special agent. Wouldn't Tony love to know that?"
"First thing in the morning you're going to fix it," she ordered covering up a yawn.
"Okay Jen," he agreed closing his eyes hoping she would follow suit. He heard her shift again before her breath became softer and even as she drifted off as well.
His internal alarm startled him awake and the first thing he noticed was how warm it was in the basement. As he opened his eyes though he quickly realized he was not in his basement but rather a bedroom and if the red hair was any indication he had found a woman the night before. It was the scent that gave it away, a scent he wasn't sure he'd ever forgotten. The blend of exotic fruits and a faint flower always surrounded only one woman. As his eyes focused he was pretty convinced he was in her bed. Which didn't really explain a whole lot, as he couldn't remember why exactly he'd be in Jennifer Shepard's bed.
The events of the previous night, or rather early morning, slowly arranged themselves in a logical order and he realized that sometime in the night she had just slid closer. Somehow they had gotten cocooned in her sheets and she had buried her head in his chest, her one hand grasping his tee shirt in a death grip. He found he had both his arms wrapped tightly around, holding her in a protective embrace. He sighed contently figuring he might well as enjoy the moment that probably would never happen again. He longer red hair was sprawled on his chest covering her face and tickling his nose. He inhaled gently trying to rememorize the scent. He glanced at the window trying to determine if this peace had to come to an end and saw that it was still rather dark out. He figured it was probably just a few hours that they slept. He glanced at the clock just to make sure the alarm was set and found to his great surprise the numbers reading 11:00 AM. Shit. He immediately began to consider why no one had called, and realized that they had both left their cell phones down stairs and only Cynthia would dare call the house line. So the question was left as to why Cynthia hadn't called and he wondered if perhaps she had a day off or something. His team no doubt was wondering where he was but if Tony had found out the Director wasn't in, he was sure to have distracted the team with bets. Then again if his phone was on and Tony had ordered McGee and Abby to triangule both his and the Director's cell numbers and they were in the same place, the two were pretty much busted anyway. Note to self, slap DiNozzo.
After his mental note he came back to the more immediate problem, how to wake up Jenny. It wasn't always a pleasant task. She could be incredibly grumpy in the morning and if he didn't have coffee as a peace offering, she might be more than grumpy. He figured he could go make coffee, if he could figure out how to detach himself from her grasp. He shifted slightly and her hand tightened. Okay, not getting out that way. After she settled back, snuggling closer, he couldn't help the smile that spread across his face. He'd missed this closeness with her, missed the feel of her lying beside him, trusting him to keep her safe while she slept. It was a rather nice feeling. One he didn't want to lose in the near future so he figured for his best interest that he might as well just go back to sleep. After all, they'd already slept in; chances were the team knew where they were so he'd let her be the one to get up first. He was more than happy to lie here and catch up on sleep. He closed his eyes again and with a faint smile dozed half awake.
She stirred again nearly a half hour later and tried to curl back up to keep in her sleep state when she realized that her curling was hindered by something large and warm. One eye cracked open and in her sleep state the only thing she could come up with was a large pillow, until she realized that said pillow had a heartbeat. She could hear the steady thump-thump and tensed trying to figure out whose bed she was in and with whom. Both eyes went open as sleep cleared and she breathed a sigh of relief that she was in her bed, and fully dressed. It did not explain the other body. As her memory caught up with her brain she didn't know whether to be relieved or panicked that one Leroy Jethro Gibbs, was in her bed. She knew his heartbeat was stead and even, suggesting he was only in a light sleep and so her hopes of sneaking out undetected were going to be slim to none. She really could care less. It was just her in the house. Cynthia had the day off so even if it were a little late no one would care, except his team who probably thought it was a test. She shifted slightly to look over his shoulder at the alarm clock and then felt real panicky set in. 11:30 AM flashed in a large red font. Shit. Shit. Shit. She decided now would be a good time to retreat, make a cup of coffee and then wake him up. As she tried to slide away she felt his arms tighten around her. Hm…get up, don't get up…if those were her choices she would quite happily lie in bed all day, but she caught the faint change in his breathing and knew that it would be lying in bed all day pretending they were both asleep and really, she could think of better things to be doing.
"Jethro," she whispered softly. The last thing she wanted was to startle him.
"Hm…" He mumbled.
"It's eleven-thirty in the morning, we're late for work."
"Jethro… I know you're awake."
"Uh huh." She sighed dramatically.
"You're usually more of a morning person," she commented trying to get more than one syllable out of him.
"Go back to sleep," he muttered.
"Jethro we have to go to work, you're team is going to be wondering where you are."
"They probably already know."
"WHAT?" That wasn't good.
"You left them unsupervised with equipment that can track cell phones. Ours are sitting next to each other on the table downstairs," he reminded.
"All the more reason to get up, plus you have to go fix that thing."
"Yep." She sighed again as he showed no signs of getting up.
"Jethro…move." She snapped poking his chest. He grabbed her hand and held it in place.
"Jethro…get up I have to actually go to work, and you have to earn your paycheck."
"No case," he reminded.
"There is, the case of what ever is under my window which you are going to spend all damn day figuring out if that's what it takes."
"Or I could spend all damn day here."
"Hm…sleeping?" She clarified. "Because I happen to have to go to work."
"Sure, you're bed is actually rather comfortable."
"Well some of us don't like sleeping on concrete."
"You never complained before," came the reply that he actually opened his eyes wide with a look that said, 'tell me I didn't just say that'. Jenny laughed, she wasn't quite sure she should be surprised that it came out of his mouth, or that he hadn't planned on it coming out. He watched her, as she laughed, unable to help the grin that spread across his face. He missed that sound, and sure sometimes she laughed now, but it was never like this. Her laugh faded off but the smile on her face and in her eyes remained. It faded though as a noise filled the house and she startled. He'd heard it to and listened again. There was a knock on her front door.
"You heard that right?" She whispered, unconsciously tightening her hand on his shirt.
"Yea that I heard," he replied moving away and grabbing his gun from its place on her nightstand. "You expecting visitors?"
"No," she replied moving as well grabbing her gun out of the drawer.
"Stay put," he ordered moving towards her doorway and glancing down the hall.
"The hell I will," she muttered following him.
"Hello! Yoo-hoo, Jenny!" A woman's chipper voice called from the front part of the house. Both Jenny and Gibbs froze in place.
"You know her?"
"My busy-body neighbor, fantastic," she complained.
"I can't shoot her?"
"No, sadly. Why don't you make coffee or something, and I'll find out what she wants."
"Hm…sure you don't want back up?"
"Jethro if you answer that door, I will never hear the end of it and by this time tomorrow every gossip column in the city will be calling, and you will get to explain to Abby why you haven't told her."
"Good point," he agreed moving off to the kitchen but not before glancing at the doorway. Would it be such a bad thing if the gossip columns knew? Um…yes! It wasn't like they were involved or anything, as matter of fact they took great care to make sure their previous involvement stayed a secret. Jenny watched him enter her kitchen and turned to face her door taking a deep breath before opening it.
"Brie, what can I do for you?"
"Oh good morning Jenny, I'm so happy to catch you before you went to work, the most dreadful thing happened last night."
"Hm, what happened?"
"Well the Baxtons' dog, Rex, managed to escape with some of the old children's toys including dolls that talked. Apparently he buried them behind a few people's homes, but then I'm sure you weren't one of them."
"Ah…no…exactly what do these dolls do?"
"Oh my they are the most awful children's toys I've ever seen. They talk and cry. Good lord, if you wanted another child have one, don't buy your kid a doll."
"Right, of course. Well thank you for that Brie, but I am running a little late."
"Oh of course dear, your security detail I assume?" She said gesturing to Gibbs' car in the driveway.
"Right… you could call him that," Jenny answered cringing as she heard noise from the kitchen.
"Hm…and is he single?"
"No…err rather I don't know," Jenny amended realizing that the quick response had echoed further into the house.
"So its possible?"
"Jen, I think I found…" Jethro called from the kitchen doorway and Jenny spun around glaring at him. "Oh you're still talking."
"Please tell me he's single," Brie whispered to Jenny. Jethro glanced between the two women.
"Right, sorry, I just found where that irritating sound was, turns out someone buried a doll in your flowerbed. Your flowers are destroyed by the way."
"Hm…well thank you for that," Jenny snapped trying to reign in her temper. Just as she was about to add something to get rid of Brie the two phones on the table started ringing. "Well Brie, I really have to take this."
"Oh of course…well if you need anything, you just come right over," Brie called over her shoulder as she left, Jenny closing the door behind her before picking up her phone.
"Director are you alright?" Ziva's voice came from the other end.
"Yes of course, I'm just running late. I'll be in this afternoon, everything alright?"
"Ah yes…well if you happen to see Gibbs…"
"Good bye Ziva." She closed the phone and hit ignore on Gibbs'.
"Hey!" He protested.
"It was DiNozzo, you want to explain why you know the Director is perfectly fine?"
"No, not particularly."
"Good. Coffee?" She questioned moving towards him.
"Brewing, how exactly did you get that coffee from France?"
"I played nice with the café owner and they ship it to me."
"I'm not telling you that, if I did you'd be over here every morning at some ungodly hour."
"If you remember correctly you called me at the ungodly hour to come and rescue you from the creepy little voice."
"I did not use those terms, and I didn't need rescuing! And it wasn't like it didn't creep you out either."
"Minor detail," he returned coming up behind her and holding the doll in front of her. She jumped backwards into him and he laughed. "Scared of a doll?"
"Hello." The doll sounded and Gibbs dropped it on the stove in surprise.
"Now who's scared?"
"Dog must have short-circuited it," he explained tossing it in her trashcan after removing the voice box.
"Just the water softener my ass," she muttered. She glanced down at the stove only to spot the potting soil. "Jethro!"
"You better not have tracked in mud."
"I didn't!" he assured double-checking again. He rubbed his temples for a second glad to not have to mop her floors.
"No but you seemed to have got it elsewhere," she pointed out. He looked at his hands and sure enough black specks of dirt spotted them. He moved towards her, intending to get her muddy to but she held out her hand to stop him. "Sawdust is one thing, mud is another."
"You can get it off when you shave, you do have your sea bag don't you?"
"Because you're getting scruffy," she remarked going about her coffee routine. The first cup was gone in record timing and she was pouring her second while he waited for his first.
"You should have some breakfast," he said opening her refrigerator. It was basically empty aside from a few Tupperware containers, yogurts and a bottle of cooking wine.
"Uh Noemi has the week off…" she replied. "I haven't had the chance to go grocery shopping." He said nothing just placed a strawberry yogurt in front of her with a spoon, before leaving saying he was going to borrow her bathroom. She came up twenty minutes later to find the door cracked. She peaked in to find him completely dressed minus his collared shirt and shaving. She pulled away and knocked on the door.
"You almost done? I want to take a shower."
"Funny, call me when you're done." There was no way in hell she was getting in the shower if he was still in the bathroom. She didn't possess that kind of self-control. He came out minutes later and she bolted in to the bathroom having checked three times that she had everything she needed. When she came out twenty minutes later her hair dried and curled, already minus her lipstick she found him fluffing her pillows. She glanced over the bed and found he'd changed the sheets and she tried to hide her disappointment. She would have gotten a few nights of good sleep if his scent was still attached to her pillows, but she couldn't deny that it was a sweet gesture.
"I'm ready. You didn't have to do that, I would have gotten around to it," she said.
"Hm…might as well do something, I threw them in the laundry but didn't start it."
"Oh good, thank you, I'll do it when I get home tonight." She almost wanted to jump up and down for joy. She could remove the sheets and put them back on her bed later. They both went to work in separate cars and to their respective areas, Gibbs head slapping Tony hard and then ordering them back to work. They pretty much didn't see each other the whole day, after all there was no reason to, but Jenny couldn't help but close her eyes and try to recreate the morning in her head.
When she left at around six deciding she'd rather be wrapped up in sheets with his scent that starring at her desk, she found that Gibbs had already left, along with his team. She drove home pulled her car into the drive but noticed the car parked on the street in front of her house. It was Gibbs' car. She couldn't figure out what he was doing there, but went into her house to find out. She didn't find him in the house but saw that her back door was cracked. She placed her work stuff on the table and stepped out the back door to find Jethro on his knees next to her flowerbed. She watched for a minute as he carefully planted some brightly colored flower into the area that had been dug up.
"I didn't know you had a green thumb," she said breaking the silence. He didn't seem so surprised and figured he must have heard her come out.
"Well I did dig up your lovely little garden, least I could do was replace it."
"Well thank you, God knows I probably would have just avoided it."
"You should spend some time out side. It's good for you."
"Would you like something to eat? I could probably call for take out."
"Oh…there's something in the stove."
"Food? In my house?"
"Yea funny how things like that happen." She retreated back inside and peaked in the oven to find some sort of very yummy looking dish cooking.
"What is it?"
"Yes really," his voice came in from outside.
"Staying warm in the microwave, and don't touch the whipped cream!" She checked the microwave to find macaroni and cheese staying warm and had to smile. She hadn't had that in so long. She carefully opened her fridge looking for the whipped cream only to find it full. There were fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk, cheese, juices, a bottle of good wine, and a bowl of fresh whipped cream. I'm in heaven, she decided reaching in to just run her finger along the dish. "Jenny!"
"I was just reaching for the strawberries!" She protested.
"Speaking of which, where did I get all this?"
"Food elves," he replied. She raised her eyebrow. "Well okay, I went shopping yesterday, but I'm never really in the house, and take out is just so much easier, so I brought you food."
"Well you have to eat, or your suits won't fit."
"I could be on a diet you know."
"If you're on a diet, you're insane and I'm taking you to Ducky." He really never understood why women dieted. He personally preferred women who had curves and Jenny was the prime example. She ignored the comment and instead closed the fridge door after pulling the wine out.
"Want a glass?"
"You made dinner, the least you could do is try to enjoy it."
"So exactly why did you make dinner?"
"Well I thought I'd come and make sure there weren't any more dolls that would scare the crap out of you at three in the morning. Traffic that time is really a nightmare." She said nothing but smirked in response pouring two glasses of wine. He took his and went back outside to sit at her patio table.
"Subtle Jethro," she mumbled following. He'd obviously cleaned the table and chairs off and she couldn't help but wonder what else he had planned. She sat down after grabbing dinner and plates and they ate in comfortable silence occasionally mentioning work. Jenny was trying to decide whether she wanted him to go so she could get the sheets out of the washer or stay so she might have the real thing.
"Oh I started your washing machine too," he mentioned during a lull in the conversation. Jenny quickly hid her disappointment; there went her sheets and good night sleep.
"Thank you," she replied. He caught her tone and stared at her a minute.
"I do know how to wash sheets Jen, they'll be fine."
"Oh I'm sure you do. You're perfectly domesticated."
"It comes in handy every now and then," he answered. She nodded picking up the dirty plates and bringing them back inside. He followed her back in closing the door and helping with the dishes.
"Want a drink?" She inquired after the dishes were in the dishwasher. He followed her into the study where she poured two bourbons and handed one to him. They stood in front of the fire for a minute, before Jenny moved to her desk closing the files she'd been working on the previous night. She was just about to rejoin him when she heard it.
"Hello." The little girl's voice was back and Jenny's headshot up.
"Jethro that's really not funny."
"What?" He asked her voice dragging him out of his thoughts.
"The doll, I thought you got rid of it."
"I did, I watched the trash company pick it up before we left."
"There wasn't another one?"
"No…" he drawled. "Why?"
"Hello?" She watched him freeze in place.
"That would be why."
"And you're not doing it?" Gibbs clarified.
"Okay…well if you're not, and I'm not, and the doll is gone…"
"Hello." This time Jenny jumped she could swear it was right behind her. If it came just one more time, she was going to damn the consequences, and hide behind him. "Hello." When Gibbs tensed even more he realized Jenny had flown from where she was and was flinging herself at him. He caught her carefully and she quickly maneuvered so she was hiding behind him.
"It's freezing over there," she whispered. He tightened his grip on her and cautiously moved over there. He felt the change in temperature too, but saw nothing. The window was firmly shut; there was no glowing lights or anything suspicious. He felt Jenny tighten her grip as a soft breeze blew. How there was a breeze in the house, he wasn't quite sure.
"Hello?" this time he swore it was a deep male voice and he glance back over his shoulder to the front door, still firmly shut. Jenny's grip was almost painful and as he turned to her, he noticed all the color had drained from her face.
"You're going to think I'm insane," she whispered her voice on the verge of panic.
"I'm starting to think we're both insane, so what is it?"
"I swear I just heard my father," she replied her voice barely audible.
"Low voice, deep timbre?" Jethro clarified. Jenny met his eyes nodding.
"You heard it too?"
"And you're very sure he's dead."
"Very, I don't think even Trent Kourt is that creative."
"Okay, well there's one of two explanations."
"Well either we're dead and therefore we can hear them, but I think I would have remembered dying."
"Or we're both going insane."
"As likely as that is, maybe the house is just haunted or something…" She replied.
"Well it was better than your explanation."
"You dad got unfinished business?"
"Ah nope, I think he was good."
"Know any little girls who died here?"
"Well there was a rumor that a witch was born here," she said. "The story goes that her mother was quickly burned at the stake and that she was then burned when she was just five years old for some reason or another…never really got the whole story out of my mother."
"Okay…and both their ghosts are haunting the house."
"Well I guess that makes it somewhat less creepy," she paused contemplating all she heard from her friends who actually believed this. "You don't think they're here to kill me do you?"
"Now you sound crazy," he said. "You're dad is not going to want to kill you, and a little five year old girl…well you ever burned a witch at the stake?"
"Then I think you're good."
"All the same, maybe I should take you out for the night, you can stay with me or something," he replied leading her to the door. The lock clicked. Jenny tightened her grip on him and buried her head in his chest. "Okay, guess we're staying here." He led her towards the stairs and to her bedroom the only room in the house that felt comfortable to be in. He closed the door and locked it, not really sure if a lock would keep out a ghost, not that he believed in ghosts of course, but it made them both relax slightly. Jenny had looked up and realized they were in her room, but she had not let go of him.
"So…I don't think my dad would come in here. He never did before."
"After my mother died, he couldn't bare to be in here, so we switched rooms. It's been my room for years and he wouldn't even come down the hallway."
"Okay…well then we're camping out here."
"Well if we're going to stay, I'm changing." She grabbed some sweats out of a drawer and moved to her bathroom. "By the way, you left your sea bag," she mentioned noticing it by the door.
"So I did, but I was pretty sure I left it down stairs…" he thought puzzled. "I'll change after you." Ten minutes later they were both changed and Jenny was curled up in the bed trying to stay warm. Jethro noticed her shivering and grabbed extra blankets but nothing seemed to stop it. "You cold?"
"I don't know why," she said, worry seeping into her voice. "You're not going to tell that I'm scared of a few ghosts are you?"
"Yea right and have you repeat the same thing about me. I think we'll apply Rule 4 to this one. Now scoot over," he told her moving the extra blankets to slide in between the sheets. She shifted slightly and he lay down beside her, he was starting to get cold too.
"I don't usually get cold, but yea."
"Well I'm still freezing. There weren't any more blankets were there?"
"That was all the ones in the room."
"Well I'm not leaving to get more."
"So we're both going to freeze…or,"
"Or? Why do I get the feeling this or is going to involve body heat?" She sighed as his knowing grin spread across his face. She scooted back closer to him letting him wrap his arms around her and suddenly she felt very warm and she wasn't sure if it was body heat or the jump her heart rate took.
"See not so bad."
"Hm…true. You could lose the gun," She teased shifting backwards slightly, later she was going to blame it on the wine. She felt his hand clamp down on her waist holding her still.
"Well I suppose I shouldn't mention that at least my own personal vanity isn't destroyed."
"What?" he asked confused.
"You didn't feel a thing this morning." He would swear she turned a nice shade of red.
"Right…" he drawled. If she had had any concept of how tempted he had been to keep her in bed all day, she might have castrated him. "You could walk into a room…" he trailed off; oh he wasn't going to finish that sentence.
"And?" She egged on.
"And I'm sure even the married men would look," he finished hoping to save face. She shifted again this time rolling to face him, keeping some space between them, but not a lot.
"Oh really?" She inquired mockingly. "Well lucky for them, I don't usually date married men."
"Their wives might thank you," he retorted. She swatted his shoulder trying to hold in her laughter.
"Hm…it might explain why SecNav's wife is always inviting me to dinner and there's always some single guy or another."
"And how exactly do single men get these invitations?"
"Why would you care?"
"Just curious." He tightened his hold on her for a second, trying to restrain from interrogating her on all the particular guys. "Your neighbor was nice."
"Hm…yea I think that's her name."
"Brie is interested in two things, one how to find her self a playmate of the week and two how to get all the good gossip on her neighbors."
"You must be her favorite target."
"She's tried lots of times, the fact is I'm just insanely boring."
"Boring is not a word I would use to describe you in any situation," he remarked after pondering the statement. "Well she's living near a haunted house, that should be good? And as long as she's not married, give her DiNozzo's number."
"I wouldn't sic her on anyone," Jenny replied. "Although she inquired if you were single."
"Yes and No."
"Well am I single, the answer is yes and no."
"It can't be yes and no, its one or the other."
"Well yes I guess technically I'm single, but no I'm not dating."
"Decided to avoid finding ex-wife number four?"
"Something like that, women are…difficult."
"I resent that."
"Not you in particular, just women in general. They always want you to talk about something. I don't like talking." He paused watching her listen surprised by the amount of emotion that was flashing through her eyes. "I would rather date a woman I already know."
"Jethro all the women you know are either exes or young enough to be your daughter. That's not a whole list of possibilities."
"Well once you cross out the young ones. Yea the list gets infinitely smaller."
"True," she replied.
"But that aside I already said I wasn't really single. Well sort of single."
"That still doesn't make sense by the way."
"Well try it this way, I'm not technically dating anyone." She nodded. "But I would only date one person so…does that make me single?"
"I suppose not," she sighed not really like this new piece of information. Even if she had been the one to say no off the job, it didn't take her too long to realize that if she were going to live that way, she'd be miserable. "So what's the problem?"
"Well the woman, of course."
"Oh really?" Jenny inquired raising an eyebrow.
"Yes really. You are a very complicated sex."
"Now you're sounding like DiNozzo," she laughed lightly. "So what about this woman?"
"Well she's smart."
"That's a given."
"All men think the woman they want to be with is beautiful Jethro, nice try."
"Hm…caring. Considerate, Has good tastes, is a redhead, that's always a plus."
"Redhead?" Jenny said shifting slightly to meet his eyes. They obviously weren't thinking about the same woman.
"Well yea, why what color hair would she have?"
"Would it matter if you really cared about her?"
"Well no, it wouldn't, but red hair suits her. Although she died it brown once and that was pretty too, but red hair just goes with her eyes better."
"This has nothing to do with you liking redheads?"
"Well that's what I started to like her, but it quickly became insignificant, kinda like icing on the cake."
"Do I know her?"
"Yep." He seemed very proud of himself but realized she was not following his through process at all and that he may have gotten himself in a whole lot of trouble.
"Well then let me guess her name."
"Oh by all means."
"No, she never dyed her hair."
"Diane?" Jenny seemed a little shocked at that.
"Hm…I think Alice wasn't that her name? I don't think I've ever met her."
"Nope Alice was in between ex 1 and 2."
"Well I don't know Ex-wife number one so it can't be her. That woman that was here a few years ago."
"She came to see you at the office only a couple months after I was director."
"I don't know her name."
"Sarah was my Marine buddy's wife, we had a slight falling out."
"Oh well you looked fine when I saw her."
"Yea it was after that."
"Well then I'm out of women. Hollis was blonde."
"You left a name off that list."
"No I didn't, you asked me if I knew her I just went through all the women I know that you know. Aside from Ziva, who is enamored with DiNozzo, and Abby who is still in love with McGee, she's just in denial. Neither of which are redheads by the way."
"You're still missing one Jen," he said pointedly using her name. He saw what might have been hope sprint through her eyes before they became blank and if he didn't know better he would swear she was about to cry. He raised one hand and traced the curve of her face.
"What's her name Jethro?" She asked her voice quiet.
"Her name is Jennifer, but I call her Jenny or Jen. Well Jen at work, Jenny off work, but its kinda become Jenny all the way around. She doesn't like Jen very much you see, or Jennifer for that matter. She threw a Frisbee at me when I called her Jennifer."
"And so the reason you haven't said anything is…"
"Well she's very hard to read sometimes. I didn't want her to think I was on the rebound, which I'm not, and I really didn't know how to quite win her over again."
"Yes really, so you see she called me because she was scared of ghosts so I figured if she called me and I came that would win her over, but I wasn't too sure about that, so I thought I'd trying making her dinner. And by the way this all came out of a book DiNozzo leant me with Abby's instructions that I was an idiot."
"Well apparently Abby got it out of Ziva that said Jenny was trying to figure out how to make a move and I was being oblivious, so they thought DiNozzo might have a few pointers."
"Okay rule number 1, don't take advice from DiNozzo."
"That's not rule Number 1."
"Jenny's Rule Number 1," she clarified. "Rule Number 2, next time you want to know something kiss me first ask questions later."
"Really?" He pulled her closer testing out the theory. She didn't think he'd take her up on it but quickly found it worked very well, especially as she responded to said kiss. They pulled away only when air became essential. The smiles that spread across both their faces could have lit up the darkest bottomless pit, except they faded as they heard scratching noises and what sounded like feet on the stairs.
"Hm…back to that rule in a minute," he said as he turned to grab his gun. The steps stopped and then turned and left. Jethro and Jenny quickly separated and made their way to the door. Nothing. They cleared the whole house meeting back up at the entrance to her bedroom.
"None of the rooms are cold," Jenny informed.
"I didn't hear anything in the study and I checked the whole outside, nothing."
"So it's gone?" Jenny questioned worried for a second.
"Think so, but just to be on the safe side…" he pulled her back into her bedroom the locking clicking into place as Jenny's faint giggles seeped through the cracks. It warmed the whole house if sound could do such a thing, and sent the Ghosts on their way. Their mission accomplished, they decided to let the lovers be.