Title: All She Needed
Disclaimer: My genie has a strict policy on granting love-related wishes...
Spoilers: No, but set shortly after the start of season 4.
Summary: She couldn't believe she'd left this, couldn't believe how stupid and naïve she'd been.
A/N: I had the urge for Jibbs fluffies...and Mo still isn't cooperating with me...
His warm arms closed around her, wrapping her tight. She sank into the embrace, needing it more than she'd ever allow herself to admit. She couldn't believe she'd left this, couldn't believe how stupid and naïve she'd been. As she leaned against his strength and felt him murmur into her hair, she realized something she should've noticed years ago: this was where she was meant to be. This was home.
A car alarm went off several blocks away, sending her neighbor's dogs into convulsive barking, the din wrenching her roughly from sleep. She whimpered deep in her throat as reality closed in and the chill of her empty bed settled into her soul. The sudden absence of his warmth set her adrift, scrambled her thoughts, leaving her with one clear idea: she needed him.
She pulled on a loose pair of yoga pants and a t-shirt left over from her probie days, not caring about appearances. It was three in the morning and she was exhausted, but she wouldn't be able to sleep without seeing him, without knowing he was safe. She needed to see him, needed his voice to banish her dark thoughts. As she moved through her room, the memory of his still form in that hospital bed sent a shiver down her spine, adding speed to her already hurried movements. She grabbed her car keys and wallet, barely remembering to lock her door in her haste to get to her car. Heedless of her less than recent time behind the wheel of a car, she peeled out of the garage, reflexes taking over.
It was amazing she made it there in one piece.
The car was barely quiet before she was on the porch, her hand on the door knob. She was reminded of the house's emptiness over the past few months as she slipped inside and ruthlessly shoved away the feelings. He was back now and it was obvious in the air of the house; it was no longer the empty shell it'd been in his absence.
She kicked off the shoes she was wearing, padding through the house in bare feet as she made her way to the kitchen. The scent of coffee was thick in the room as she entered, calling forth hundreds of images and similar scenarios as she opened the basement door. Pulling it shut behind her, she stood on the top step for a moment, letting the familiar sounds and smells wash over her. Eyes closed, she simply was, remembering how and why she'd gotten to this point. Opening her eyes and taking a breath, she descended the stairs.
Clear blue eyes met hers across the dusty basement. The TV played softly in the background, white noise to break the silence. He simply looked at her for the longest time, his eyes following her as she came to the bottom of the steps. She waited for him to say something, waited for him to send her away, but he stayed silent. There was only his eyes, tracing her body, taking in her appearance, prodding to life something fiery and half-forgotten deep within her. Just as the tension started to crystallize, he looked away, breaking the spell his eyes had cast.
"What're you doing here, Jen?" he asked gruffly, sounding tired as he wiped his hands on a rag, his eyes carefully trained on the floor.
She didn't know how to respond, didn't know how to read his question or his body language. She'd known him so well at one point, had almost been able to read him like a book, but she seemed to have lost that ability over the years. She walked over and leaned against the workbench, her eyes taking in the room as she tried to come up with an answer that wouldn't make her seem weak. She felt so fragile, but wasn't sure what would happen if she broke in front of him, didn't want to find out the hard way.
"Couldn't sleep," she murmured, saving face by stating the least of her reasons. His eyes swung to meet hers and she knew he knew there was more to it. She might not have been able to read him anymore, but he could definitely read her. "Another boat?" she asked, inclining her head towards the very vaguest outline resting in the middle of the room.
"Figured, why not," he shrugged, brushing off her question. His eyes were still trained on her as he stepped over to the workbench she leaned against. She watched him tinker with something out of the corner of her eye. His nearness was almost enough to warm the chill deep within her, something that had been frozen for so long she hadn't really noticed it till tonight. But she needed more from him, though she was at a loss as to how to get it. She opened her mouth to speak when something caught her attention.
It was a picture, pinned to the wall above the work surface, faded and worn by frequent handling. She vaguely remembered it being taken, having been more absorbed in the moment than the kind photographer who had pressed the photo into their hands. She'd had her arms around his waist, her head tucked against his chest, his arms wrapped around her, while they watched the sun set over the Parisian rooftops. She'd wondered what had happened to the little Polaroid in the months afterward but hadn't really been able to bring herself to find out. It would have been far too painful for both of them.
She turned to see him watching her again, questions filling his all-too-familiar eyes. "I always wondered what had happened to this," she muttered, touching a finger to the corner.
"I found it on the floor under the bed the day I left Paris," he replied, his gaze never wavering from her eyes. "Jenny, why are you here?" he asked again.
"Do you ever wonder what would've happened if I hadn't left, Jethro?" she returned wistfully, shifting her gaze away from his.
"I've missed you," she whispered, her eyes brimming at the admission. "I've missed you so much." A single tear escaped, trailing slowly down her cheek as she looked back at him.
His eyes were tired, but something warm glowed in them as he reached out a hand to wipe away the moisture. She canted her face into his touch, the warmth soothing away the memory of lonely years. She felt him move closer, felt the world tilt as his other hand rose to cup her cheek. She watched his eyes, anchored herself in the warm blue, wondered at the flickering emotion she saw there. Her breath hitched as she saw the heat building, turning his eyes into twin flames threatening to consume her.
"God, Jen," he breathed before claiming her lips in a kiss.
It was just like she remembered, the fire and passion straight out of her most hidden memories. The feel of his mouth on hers shot through her, awakening every need and longing she'd forced dormant. The strength of his body and their shared passion gave her everything she needed. And as his hands traced her body, as she dug her fingers into his hair, as she let herself get swept away in the tide of feeling and emotion, conviction rang like a bell tone.
This was where she was meant to be.
She gave herself up to the knowledge, safe in his arms and the thought.
She was home.