A/N: This will be a collection of unrelated sonfics, predominately JIBBS. There (rarely) may be another pairing. Rating can fluctuate

'I Told You So' by Carrie Underwood


Jennifer Shepard delicately placed the phone back in its cradle on her desk, her fingers trembling just slightly. She turned towards the window behind her, where the low lights of the city spread out before her, the sights of the Sigonella, Italy NCIS field office where she was stationed. She let her eyes fall closed, as if blocking out the lights would block out everything else.

Jennifer, my dear, have you spoken to Jethro?

Ducky, don't.

He's getting married again. June, in Moscow. Her name is Stephanie.

Jenny's eyes flicked open, and her eyelashes were heavy with unshed tears.

Suppose I called you up tonight and told you that I loved you
And suppose I said I want to come back home
And suppose I cried and said I think I finally learned my lesson
And I'm tired of spending all my time alone

It had been a year—no, not even that. Eight months since the day she'd walked away from him in that Paris airport, leaving behind her nothing but the coat and her cold letter buried in its pocket. Eight months since she'd broken it off clean and steeled herself against the heartache—eight months, and he was engaged again. Maybe it hadn't hurt as much for him.

But a day hadn't gone by in eight months when she hadn't regretted that choice more than any other she'd ever made in her life.

If I told you that I realized you're all I ever wanted
And it's killing me to be so far away

Jenny leaned forward on her desk and covered her mouth with her hand, holding in emotion she couldn't afford to feel. The silence of the office enveloped her, reminded her that this was all she had and this was what she'd given up everything for.

She'd never counted on running into anything that could stop her from achieving what she was hell-bent on achieving. She'd never counted on what happened in Paris. She could kill herself for getting into this mess, and for falling so damn hard. She couldn't bring herself to wish it had all never happened, because she clung to him and her memories like life itself—it was all she had left.

The job had been everything, and the job had ruined everything. Ducky's late-night phone call, made from a different time-zone, a kind check up on an old friend, had served nothing but to twist the knife in deeper. Moscow. So he was still in Russia, Russia were their next op had been, had she not taken this opportunity.

She was sequestered in Italy, in the sun and warmth, while he was far away in the icy winter of Moscow—and she was here because she never wanted to be cold again, because cold nights begged for a warm body to snuggle against, and she'd thrown that all away. She hadn't realized until it was too late that she'd scarred herself deeper than she'd thought possible, the emotions ran deeper than she thought possible, and she had wanted one thing more than she would ever want this job.

Would you tell me that you love me too
And would we cry together

Jenny's shoulders trembled as she turned her face into her palm, silent tears escaping emerald eyes.

Had she hurt him? Did he hate her? She imagined his eyes as he read her words, flinched at the hollow and steely look that she knew would gloss the cobalt orbs, as it always did when he hid his pain.

If she had told him, just once, twice even, before she left it all in pieces in the floor of their memories, maybe she could bear this. How would he look at her now, God forbid, if they met again? Would his lips twitch in that teasing smirk, his eyes soften? Would he even give her a second glance? If she faced him again…if she could ever face him again…would anything she could ever say repair the damage done?

If her aching fingers dialed him now and she spoke the words that were eating at her, would he forgive? He had every right to hurt her in every way she'd showed him how in their most intimate moments, when her vulnerability had been his to soothe. He had all the weapons to use against her. He knew how to cut her deeply. She half hoped he would.

Or would you simply laugh at me and say
I told you so, oh I told you so
I told you someday you'd come crawling back
And asking me to take you in
I told you so, but you had to go
Now I found somebody new
And you will never break my heart in two again

Jenny wiped her eyes slowly, staring at the black smears of make-up on her knuckles. Sleep would not come tonight, not now. Not that it ever did. She was too afraid to face her mistakes in the dark. She had chosen this, and if it was all she had, she would make it worthwhile. Those words were how she got herself through the days, but there was still nothing to get her through the nights when there was nothing but regret and her traitorous thoughts telling her she should have listened to her romantic side.

Eight Years Later

Jenny caught his eye as she left the building far too late for the thousandth time in her career and looked away just as quickly, careful not to let a flicker of emotion escape the clipped, business-like glaze of her Director's eye. His eyes she felt, perhaps, linger a bit longer—and though hers had acknowledged him in the parking garage by his car for the briefest second, she'd still gotten the full effect of his hand on her back as he opened the car door for her.

She didn't want to hate Colonel Hollis Mann simply because the other woman had him, and yet she did. Maybe not an emotion as strong as hate, no, but jealousy, clearly, and resentment. This day had been hell, the wrap up of the case involving Army CID and Stephanie Flynn. The last thing she'd wanted was to see him ending the day with the Colonel.

If I got down on my knees
And told you I was yours forever
Would you get down on yours too and take my hand

She barely moved in the back seat as Melvin drove her home, her head turned towards the black-tinted window of the SUV.

They had barely begun to heal since the Grenouille disaster. La Grenouille, the pinnacle of her career, the very thing she'd sacrificed everything for, had left her with nothing again. Nothing but a meticulously cleaned gun and a dead body in the marina, and the betrayed and distrustful eyes of Jethro as he learned of all the lies and deceptions she'd woven, and of what she'd done to Tony.

He turned to Hollis and she turned away; she wanted his forgiveness and she didn't dare ask.

How far could she go before he stopped reaching out to her and reminding her of what she'd given up?

Would we get that old time feeling
Would we laugh and talk for hours
The way we did when our love first began

It had been more difficult than she'd ever imagined. Seeing him again, taking this job where she was forced to work with him every day. It was bittersweet, and she was selfish. She desperately guarded herself against him. She'd have preferred hatred to the soft-smile and the 'I missed you, Jen,' she'd gotten on her return. There were moments when they slipped into the old camaraderie, sparred lightly with each other, and it only made her want to take it all back. The regret was so heavy on her, it was the only thing that was a constant shadow over her accomplishments.

Alone, in her study, she swirled bourbon around in a tumbler, her glasses perched on her nose, her hand resting on a pile of files she'd brought home with her.

She sank into the past, of hours spent on a wooden floor in a tiny shack in Serbia, laughing, waking up next to him in Paris, sunlight streaming into the windows in Positano.

It would never be that way again, would it?

She'd ruined everything twice now. She'd ruined a chance at civility. He was home with The Colonel, his blonde comfort, and she was home with her regrets and her choices and the usual maddening I-told-you-so's of her conscience.

Would you tell me that you've missed me too and that you've been so lonely
And you waited for the day that I returned.

She ran her fingers so gently over the purple painted and elegantly engraved name on the boat, steadying her breath as best she could. Her hand fell to her side, looking around at the empty basement, and her heels echoed ominously across the floor as she crossed to the workbench, touching the same tools he'd always used.

His floors creaked above her and she swallowed, fighting the urge to run away. She didn't know why she was in this damn basement anyway.

"Jenny?"

She turned when he spoke her name, voice gruff and questioning. He came down the last few steps, dropping his cell and keys on the nearest table. He glanced at the coat she'd laid over a part of the boat, and the Mason jar next to her, half-full of his bourbon.

"Jen," he said, for lack of anything else no doubt.

"Jethro," she said.

How to tell him everything she couldn't bring herself to say? Things had changed. It wasn't supposed to be like this, but Ducky had never lied to her. Hindsight was 20/20, and she hated what she had to look back at. He said something to her, and she shifted, looking at him and shaking her head.

"I'm sorry," she said, "Jethro, I'm sorry."

She repeated it like it was everything.

And we'd live in love forever and that I'm your one and only
Or would you say the tables finally turned

His hands touched her shoulders and he looked down at her, she thought he might have asked her what she was talking about, or what was wrong with her, or maybe simply just have said 'what?'

She reached up and touched the lapels of his coat. His touch was so gentle, and she deserved to be shaken. He was too good of a man. He should never forgive her for the way she'd jerked him around for years.

Would you say I told you so, oh I told you so
I told you someday you'd come crawling back
And asking me to take you in

But Jethro didn't say a word. His lips pressed against her forehead, and then her brow, just above her eyes, and the corner of her mouth. This was her facing her judgment from him, and he did nothing put take the pain away like he always had, when he had every right to throw her out with her letter ripped to shreds behind her.

"Why can't you hate me, Jethro? Make it easy on me?" she whispered, as he tangled his rough hand in her hair and pulled her face close, noses almost touching, her body bound tight against him pressed into the wood behind her.

He shrugged.

"I can hate everything you've ever done, Jen, but I can't hate you." He said simply, running a finger down her cheek.

"Goddamnit, Jethro," she responded hoarsely, shaking her head.

I told you so, but you had to go
Now I found somebody new

"Find someone you deserve," she told him, as his lips pressed against hers anyway, tasting her salty tears, "Someone who won't hurt you anymore," her words were bitter, regretful.

"You won't, Jen," he said, blowing her off lightly, "You've learned," he said, tilting her head up for full access to her mouth. Her hands trembled at his lapels as she pulled him closer, at home in his intoxicating smell and the taste of his mouth.

You will never break my heart in two again.


And so, the Medley begins.

xoxo
Alexa