Just a few chapters, a late Christmas present :p
The Last Kiss
The Director of NCIS stood staring down at the bullpen, her arms folded across her chest, her mind lost in very specific thoughts, her eyes scanning the area. She observed her agents carefully, silently reminding herself of everything she knew about each one of them simply by seeing their familiar faces. This was her job, the product of all her determination; it was her life. As she looked at them, she remembered a conversation she had with her ex-partner – not really a conversation, but one of them talked and the other answered without really listening what the other had just said. He'd call her "queen" and as she stood there, she couldn't help but feel indeed like a queen – a solitary queen. Her agents worked, talked, drank coffee, argued; and even if she'd already seen the same scene countless times, it seemed extraordinary, because those people had something she'd lost a long time ago. She wondered what they were like as a friend, a family member, if they were afraid of losing their lives and leave their loved one behind, if they cared at all. She'd been one of them, but it was as if it had been a long time ago. She wondered if they felt the excitement she used to feel, if friendship and fear were still the same. Her ears captured the sounds they made but she couldn't understand what they were saying; her mind was closed to them. Three years had already passed since her unexpected return, three long years that had changed her life forever. She was tough now and the Director exterior weighted on her shoulders. Initially, that position was the last idea that could ever occur to her but that was a long time ago, long before her father's death. After that, she changed her entire life, with one single purpose. It had seemed the right thing to do back then, she'd been hurt and devastated. The responsible for his death was gone, hopefully burning in hell. She still felt empty, though.
She looked at her empire, knowing too well how close she'd been of losing it. Jenny had been irrational, inconsequent, very much like a probie. Now it was all in the past and she had to look forward. The only reason that had kept her on the job was her efficiency, along with her ability to deal with people – outside and inside NCIS. She could be the friend, being sympathetic, or she could be the understanding boss that remained professional; at least when her former partner wasn't involved, because when it was about him...that was something that needed to be fixed. The Director couldn't afford to treat her agents differently or to have favourites and that's what the rumours said about Special Agent Gibbs. Those bottled up feelings were doing no good to their relationship – if it could be classified as such. For the past three years, they'd chosen to ignore the tension between them, the words not spoken, and ended up fighting, getting into trouble, and thanks to miracles, managing to survive. Jenny knew they'd have to do something about it – sooner or later – because it was getting impossible to work like that. There was no agreement, no listening, no talking, and she was tired; it consumed all her energy. Even before she'd actually accepted Morrow's offer, she had already decided that the past wouldn't control the present, that what they had in Europe wouldn't get in the way – it didn't go quite as planned. If it wasn't enough she couldn't even blame him, because it was her fault. She was the one who attempted to cut all the ties with him and now she was the one paying for it. Friends are friends, and lovers are lovers. Friends can become lovers, but going in the opposite way was just too much. She knew it wouldn't work, would only prolong the torture and what ifs – exactly where they were in that exactly moment. As Jenny continued to observe her agents going on their daily routine, her eyes fell upon him and he tilted his head, meeting her gaze. His eyes reflected their current mood, their current fight. She wanted him to be happy but it was so hard to keep thinking positive when he was there whenever she arrived or went back home, annoying her just for the fun of it.
Being honest with herself, Jenny found it ridiculous. It seemed like anything was a potential excuse for them to fight, even the most insignificant of things, and whenever it happened, Gibbs would be either avoiding her or barginginto her office. He'd been doing both for the past couple of weeks – not a very good sign. Right then, he refused to look away, glaring coldly at her. Jenny, on the other hand, looked at him with an understanding gaze, instead of the usual angry one. He narrowed his eyes, probably amused by the sudden change of behaviour. She could tell the way she was looking at him was slowly getting on his nerves and the coldness in his stare was gradually fading away. Jenny didn't want to look away before he did, but the voice of her assistant calling the Director prevented her of doing as she wished. She looked at him one more time and gave him a short nod of the head, feeling his eyes on her as she disappeared into her office. It was hard to believe now but they used to be friends, very good friends, and two people that enjoyed each other's company, but she missed the most was the fact that he used to trust her. Jenny missed that, being simply human had been a blessing. Not that her life was that bad but sometimes it got so lonely, so pointless. She entered her office and looked at her desk, wondering if it'd been worth all the things she'd given up. It wasn't something she'd never thought about, on the contrary; it was a recurrent thought. She needed to reassure herself of her own choices. Sitting down on her chair, she studied the room with her eyes; she'd given herself up for that and the Director was inside of her almost every second of her day, every day of her month, every month of her years.
Jenny rubbed her tired eyes, hoping it'd keep her awake, and looked at the pile of paperwork waiting for her. A deep sigh left her body and she grabbed a pen. It wasn't a night to be spent sleeping on the couch but rather a night for a good book and a generous drink. She sighed and pulled the files closer to her. The sooner she started, the sooner she'd leave. Her hand worked with a mind of its own as her eyes scanned the words written on the paper. Seconds turned into minutes and minutes turned into hours. Her hand started to ache and her eyes were tired, blinking more than it was necessary just to keep her awake. Her head was spinning but she kept her automatic movements and feigned not to notice. Reading reports was the most boring part of her job but at least it enabled her to think freely about anything else. The subject of the day this time was that unbearable situation at work. They were both adults, behaving like children, and it was interfering with all the cases they had to work together. The worst was knowing that the entire agency was aware of their every move. When she told him there would be "no off the job" it was meant for the best. After that, it'd been fight after fight and so on. Luckily, the agency had survived but the rest not so much. Her job had been left almost intact but she wanted to have both. They had so much history to let small, insignificant matters keep them apart. Jenny found it really sad; she'd thought that they'd be able to keep their friendship. Even though she wasn't sure about him, she did care, cared a lot if she was being honest with herself. No other relationship had been so intense. She reached for another file, without looking up and read the words mechanically.
There was a knock on the door but it didn't interrupt her work – Cynthia was already used to it anyway – because they went through the same ritual every night. Slowly, she stretched her neck, rotating it carefully, and took off her glasses. Gibbs stood in front of her desk, taking into every detail of the woman in front of him with her head thrown back, exposing her throat to his eyes. It was enough to remind him of another time, another situation and much less clothes, how that skin felt against his lips and hands. It also made him realise that he was too old to be fantasizing about his boss; especially when he was meant to be furious. Still, he didn't want to interrupt her, not that it was like he wanted to know what she'd do next. Her right hand rubbed her neck and he enjoyed it as much as he could considering the circumstances. Once upon a time it was his hand that would be there and he didn't have to think too hard to imagine what it felt like. Her eyes opened without hurry and Gibbs had to admit that she was beautiful, even though he'd almost forgotten that. When her eyes finally settled on him, Jenny was momentarily surprised but soon recovered. She resisted the urge to ignore him and simply sat up, noticing it'd been the first time he didn't shout first and stared later. Did he knock?
"You knocked?" she asked, her voice echoing her thoughts.
"Why wouldn't I?" he asked, as if it was the most common thing he'd do. So they were back to playful?
Jenny felt her eyes widening, not really believing his words. She laughed, like she hadn't done for a long time. How could she be angry at him and at the same time be laughing because of him she had no idea. Gibbs was in a trance; he'd always loved the sound of her laughter. He told himself he had to concentrate, he was still angry after all. Jenny looked at him and his eyes met hers but the intensity was more than she could take that she couldn't look away.
"Well, it's definitely something you don't usually do" she said, not taking her eyes away from his. He narrowed his eyes but didn't say anything, watching her with attentive eyes. Jenny started to feel exposed, like maybe he could see something she wasn't aware of.
"You came here just to look at me?" she asked quietly, while her eyes challenged him. She thought she'd seen a different sparkle in his eyes but it was gone quickly. His usual answer never came and he only passed her another file, being just as quiet as when he arrived. She preferring him shouting than silent; the latter was too distracting. It was a bit more personal – at least to her.
Jenny put the file with the others, her eyes holding his gaze. He took a step back and looked at her, looking so powerful and beautiful without even knowing it. It was hard to resist. Silently, he turned away from her and walked towards the door. She sat there, confused by his sudden appearance and departure. Jethro Gibbs wasn't known as a talkative person but that was too much even to him. She watched him intently as he opened the door and mumbled something. After that, she was truly worried about him.
Jenny let out a deep sigh as soon as she reached the elevator. Even if for just a few seconds, it was only the elevator and her; no security details watching her every move. She stepped in and pressed the correspondent button. The doors slid towards each other and she turned around, already relaxing, when they abruptly stopped. She turned back, ready to see one of her details saying something she didn't want to know. It was with great surprise that she faced one of her agents instead, but not just any of them. Gibbs stepped in and as he'd done the night before, ignored her completely. It was a different day and she wasn't going to let him contaminate her mood; she was far too calm after a good night's sleep. However, if he was talking, she wouldn't be the one to break the silence. The doors slid shut this time and the man in question leaned against the wall to her right. He had a cup of coffee in his hand and drank the hot liquid while staring straight ahead. Jenny observed him curiously, not even bothering to hide the smirk on her face. We're pathetic, she thought, shaking her head. It was kind of funny and soon she was chuckling to herself. He glared at her and she stopped; at least she'd gotten his attention.
"Didn't know you were here" Gibbs said, still staring at her.
"Of course you didn't..." Jenny muttered under her breath.
A satisfied smirk quickly appeared on his face but disappeared just as fast. Jenny continued to look at him, memorising all the details of his facial expression. Not because it was much different now but because she'd never had the opportunity to do so. She was so lost in the sight of him that didn't even mind his eyes staring at her, which always managed to get her uncomfortable and slightly nervous. That day was atypical, though; he was the one getting uncomfortable and from the looks of it, heading to getting angry. Strange enough, he was holding back and controlling himself. Jenny wasn't letting him win that one however. In his defence, he lasted more than ever before, but ended up with his hand eventually finding its way to the switch and Jenny heard it before she saw it. The elevator came to an abrupt stop and the lights were turned off, aside from a faint red light that was immediately turned on. He wasn't ignoring her anymore and had turned to face her. She cocked her head to the side as he gave her one of those popular glares of his and she resisted the urge to smile just to tease him even more. Jenny folded her arms across her chest and moistened her lips, signalling she was ready for a fight.
"Do you have something to say?" Gibbs asked, arching an eyebrow at her. Jenny let her eyes drift down his body to his feet and then up to his face.
She shook her head slowly "No, I'm good" she said slowly, noticing he was frozen in place "Do you?" she asked, one eyebrow arched, mimicking his previous expression.
He didn't bother to answer straight away and turned around "I'm good" he finally said, feeling her eyes on him and smirking too himself without as much as a reason. Gibbs felt her hand on his shoulder and spun around, almost bumping into Jenny. She was standing closer, inches away from him, and his gaze stopped on her face, on the mouth that was dangerously close to him. He denied the familiar feeling the image evoked, the slow burning caused by her intense gaze. He tried to block them all by reminding himself that he was meant to be angry and their relationship was strictly professional. It'd been forever since they'd been so close and completely alone. For a second, he thought of kissing those lips, taste them again, letting his hands...
"I'm starting to accept Tony's point of view" Jenny said, watching his now dark eyes, looking unaffected by the whole situation.
"About?" Gibbs asked, mesmerized by the way her lips moved, how sexy her voice could be.
"Us" she said "The frequent fights may be a result of what happened in the past" she followed his gaze to her mouth and unconsciously, she moistened her lips "or maybe...the problem is what didn't happen"
He smirked, now holding her gaze "And what would that be, Director?" he asked, emphasizing the last word.
"We never talked about it, Jethro" she said quietly "and it's interfering with everything else. I'm tired of fighting for no reason and having my door slammed so you can prove that I'm not unreachable to you"
"If we never talked, it was a decision 'you' made" he said, taking a step back "I'm just doing my job, following your orders. Don't put the blame on me" he leaned against the wall and reached for the switch again, stopping himself when her hand closed around his wrist.
Gibbs looked at Jenny in disbelief but she pretended he was glaring at her and moved closer, pushing him against the wall, like she'd done the year before.
"No, because you never talk, Jethro" she told him while he silently remembered the similar situation they'd been in after his return from Mexico. "and this" she nodded to them "is the problem of leaving things unfinished"
Gibbs saw how the fire lit her eyes and was aware of her hands pinning him to the wall. Was she trying to test his patience? "And what do you suggest?" he asked, cocking his head to the side and narrowing his eyes "a time machine?" he added, with a smirk on his face.
She stared at him, and to prove her point, leaned forward. His gaze unconsciously flickered to her mouth again, to those lips that looked so tempting. He started to have second, third, even fourth thoughts, and his mind almost wished she wouldn't stop now, while the tension was still heavy in the air. His body, with a mind of its own, was enjoying their proximity and it was hard to concentrate on anything else than his instincts.
"Now I do understand how they say the last kiss is the most important" Jenny said quietly, against her better judgement "to make sure it wouldn't be the same" she felt her body reacting to his gaze and the fact that he hadn't attempted to move. She was trying to convince herself that it wouldn't feel the same indeed, but it didn't make it any less true that her body was willing to make sure.
"Is that your idea of telling me you want a kiss, Jenny?" Gibbs asked, contemplating the idea of doing it himself.
"Look at us...I could have done it if I wanted to" she said, taking her hands from his arms "I just wanted to prove a point"
Jenny took a step back but was surprised when she collided with his chest and one of his arms holding her in place. They'd been boss and subordinate for three very long years. What were they doing? She felt his heart beating against hers, his hand on the small of her back and it was all so intoxicating.
"Maybe you're right" Gibbs said, looking once again to her mouth, the enjoying the feeling of having her in his arms a little too much "We need to solve this and move on" he said, taking his hands off her. Jenny took a deep breath and turned around, reaching for the switch as much as thinking about what had just happened. Light replaced darkness and they looked at each other, remembering what had been said and done. The elevator came to a stop and the doors slid open. Jenny spared Gibbs one last glance but he didn't move.
"Well..." she looked at him and pointed to the door. He cocked his head to the side and waited for the doors to close. Jenny stared at him but Gibbs only shrugged.
Jenny was starting to doubt what had just happened. Not that she had done something wrong, not on purpose. Well, the last kiss commentary wasn't her most brilliant idea but it didn't make it any less true. Their unfinished business interfered with everything else. They went from joking to furious in the blink of an eye. Still, the approach she'd chosen didn't help any, only adding more fuel to the fire. A decision made in the heat of the moment and she was already regretting it. If his reaction was anything to go by, their fights were about to get even worse. If it wasn't enough, the way he was now looking at her had her thinking about the past. His eyes were a mix of longing and teasing, daring her to do something, and she was slowly losing herself in them when the elevator stopped and the doors opened. She nodded once and turned around, feeling his eyes on her as the doors slid close one more time.
Inside the elevator, Gibbs flipped the stop switch and sighed heavily. His hand connected with the back of his head and the pain helped him focus on something else than his boss's body. Last kiss...he had to smirk as he remembered her words. How could she think that a last kiss, even after nine years, wouldn't be the first? If she could take a look inside his head, she wouldn't even mention something like that...
"Damn woman" he muttered to himself as the flashbacks invaded his mind.