PAIRING: Jenny Shepard/Jethro Gibbs (somehow)
GENRE: General, Romance, Gen (?)
WORD COUNT: 2012
SUMMARY: It's late, when both, Jenny and Jethro feel the urge to check something down in the evidence locker ... Prompt "That's ridiculous. We are prisoners in our own evidence locker." (July prompts for lj's "madame_director")
WARNINGS: Written after a long hiatus. English still isn't my native language (although I wish) and the story is not beta'd. Any volunteers?
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. If I would Season 5 would have ended different.
It was late. Nearly midnight. Everyone had gone home hours ago; everyone except for Jethro, who was still working at his latest case. Something was bugging him. His gut was telling him they had missed something the day before, when they went through Petty Officer Jeffrey Callum's stuff. Something important. But he just couldn't figure out what it was.
Jethro leaned back in his chair, sighing.
He had two options: 1)Calling it a night, spending some more hours in his basement before lying wide awake in bed, thinking about the case; or 2)going over the evidence once again, hoping to find the missing link that would led them to the bastard who killed this poor marine and his wife in cold blood. Remembering the sad look in little Joshua Callum's eyes when social services had picked him up a few hours ago, made the decision easy.
"Evidence locker it is," he mumbled, taking his wallet and his keys to get some coffee before heading for the evidence garage.
But Jethro wasn't the only one burning the midnight oil. As usual, Jenny was still in her office, finishing some paper work she wasn't able to complete during normal working hours. Sometimes she asked herself if all this was worth it to give up any form of social life or even a love life she could have had since years. Not that there were any decent candidates interesting enough to fill the gap, but that didn't mean that Jenny couldn't dream the dream every woman had every once in a while. Normally, she would blame her hormones for these sentimental thoughts and most of the time she was able to put all these urges and needs aside to fully concentrate on the job. But tonight none of her usual techniques would work. Tonight she was too bored by all this reports on her desk.
Grabbing the next file, Jenny sighed. It was one of Jethro's latest cases. One she could still remember pretty well. The whole team had worked really hard to find a Marine's missing wife, before she would have starved to death in this deep hole in the middle of Rock Greek Park. In the end it was Abby who had found the crucial evidence; a dead bug and some mud the abductor had left behind in the woman's car they had found outside Little Creek.
Unbelievable, how the smallest things could have the biggest effort.
Jenny scanned the pages and took her pen to sigh the report, but paused midway, when she detected a missing page. The inventory list of the collected evidence was missing.
She knew from experience that the list would stay with the evidence, until the case was officially closed. After this the evidence would be stored downstairs in the locker room, while the list would become part of the final report, Jenny had to sign. But for some strange reasons the list was missing.
Jenny glanced at the clock on her desk, surprised how late it already was. Late even for her.
She sighed, deeply. Maybe she could go down to the garage by herself and grab the list on her way home, or even better: Pick up the list, close the file and head home afterwards with the great feeling that she had managed to finish the whole stack of files Cynthia had brought her this morning, instead of having one file left in the morning. Then she would have to find an agent to get the list and bring it to her, which could take hours, if not days. No, she wanted to finish this file tonight. Maybe that would cheer her up and she would be able to find a good night's sleep - something she hadn't had in a while.
Coffee in his hand, Jethro left the elevator that had taken him to the basement, heading straight to the evidence locker. He didn't bother to turn on the lights. He knew where the evidence he was looking for was stored and he had his flashlight with him. Carefully, he unlocked the door and placed a small wood between the door and the frame, keeping the door from closing again. He knew that the lock was defect, so the door could only be opened from the outside. Once he was inside and the door closed, he would be stuck until the next morning.
Jethro turned on his flashlight and went to the back of the locker. The box he was looking for was stored in the right corner, unfortunately out of reach on the top level of the rack. Jethro looked around, trying to find something to use as a ladder.
He had just found a solid looking box, when he heard the elevator doors open again. But he was too far in the back, hidden behind the racks to get a good look of whoever had joined him here. Maybe it was just the janitor, controlling the area or one of the technicians working the night shift. No-one who could attack or trap him, since security was working 24/7, keeping the bad guys outside.
No longer worried about his companion, Jethro climbed his self-made ladder, reaching for the box he needed. He had just grabbed the box when he heard another noise that concerned him even more than the one from before. Someone had removed the shim, allowing the door to close by itself. He was trapped - unless this someone was outside the locker and willing to let him out, once he had drawn his attention. It it wasn't already too late for this ...
Jethro shook his head in disbelief. When had he started to become so pessimistic that he was seeing only the worst in people or situations?
He put the box down on the ground and made his way back to the door, hoping to get there before the janitor - or whoever had closed the door - was back in the elevator.
He had made it halfway around the first rack, when he bumped into something soft. Something red. Something that could talk. Something ... human.
"What are you doing here?" They spoke at the same time, then fell silence, smiling slightly at each other.
"You … you go first," Jethro offered, being the gentleman his parents had raised him to be, but sounding way to insecure in his opinion.
But at least meeting Jenny down here had put any worries about the defect door aside for a while. She alway had had this effect on him and half of the time he hated her for this - the other 50% he hated himself for letting her do this to him. But whoever was to blame for this … the result was the same and he had some difficulties to focus when she was around. Of course, he would never admit this, but he had the feeling she knew it all along. Her smile gave it away; the same smile he now saw in the dim light.
"I was looking for a missing list," she explained. "For the Ramone case. The inventory list was missing and I -" Jenny fell silent, watching Jethro carefully, distracted by the physical closeness they hadn't shared in years, but that still felt so familiar.
Half of his face was hidden in the shadows but she didn't need light to tell how it looked like. Even though it had been years that they had been so close she could still recall everything. She knew his face by heart, could locate each and every scar, the small crinkles around his eyes, the tiny birthmark near his ear, normally hidden by some strands of his silver hair …
She had the urge to bring her hand to his face to touch him like she did the first time all these years ago, back in Marseille, but seeing the sudden concerned look on his face started the alarm bells ringing in her head.
"What the matter?" She asked. "Is something wrong?"
Jethro didn't answer. He shoved her aside and walked to the now closed door.
"The door is closed," he said, although it was pretty obvious to Jenny, since she was the one who had closed the door behind her.
"You do not happen to have some wire cutter with you, do you?" Jenny looked it him, puzzled.
"Is that a new rule?" She asked. "'Always take a wire cutter with you?' If so, you forgot to sent a memo, Jethro. What's the matter?"
"You closed the door behind you, Jen."
"Of course, I did. It normally closes by itself. So what's the problem?"
"The problem is that the door is closed. The lock is defect since weeks. Everyone knows it. Therefore we have this shim to hold the door open." Picking up the wood, he turned back to Jenny. "We are trapped."
Slowly, Jenny realized what Jethro was trying to tell her. "What are you going to tell me?" She asked. That we are prisoners in our own evidence locker? That's ridiculous, Jethro. If the lock was broken weeks ago, why hasn't it been replaced yet?"
"Because someone was playing Scrooge McDuck with our budget, Jen," Jethro said, the tone in his voice so angry that Jenny instinctively moved backwards until she hit the rack behind her hard.
"Ouch!" she mumbled, when the sharp angle of the stack hit the back of her head, painfully.
For a second all she could see were stars and the next thing she remembered was Jethro bending over her. She was lying on the ground, her head feeling like she was hit by a bus.
"Are you all right?" Jethro asked, his voice now concerned and soft.
"What happened?" She managed to ask, still feeling a bit dizzy.
"What do you remember?"
Jenny took a minute to organize her thoughts, before she answered his questions. "I think I hit my head and I had a weird dream about a defect lock and us being trapped in the evidence locker and -"
"That wasn't a dream, Jen," Jethro told her. "We are trapped. In the evidence locker."
Relieved that she wasn't suffering from any memory loss or bleeding out of a head wound, he sat down beside her. Without even noticing it he put his arms on her shoulder, bringing her closer to him. He could feel her stiffen for a second, then she leaned her head against his shoulder, fully relaxed.
They sat there, silently for what felt like forever, before Jenny finally spoke. "I'm sorry, Jethro."
"For what?" He asked, turning his head to look straight into Jenny's green eyes. "It's not your fault. You couldn't know that the lock was broken. With being the Director and not a field agent anymore. That's okay. It's already past midnight. Only five more hours before someone will find and rescue us."
"We could use our cell phones to call for help," Jenny suggested, relieved that Jethro was no longer blaming her. "But I left mine at my desk."
"Yeah, me too," Jethro mumbled. "Guess we have to wait."
"Looks like you're right." Jenny tried to suppress a yawn. Without much success.
"Why don't you just close your eyes and try to get some sleep?" Jethro offered, pulling her near again. "I remember times my shoulder was an acceptable pillow for you. At least you never complaint ..."
But Jenny had already closed her eyes, drifting into sleep.
Jethro leaned back against the wall. Smiling, he brushed a strand of her red hair back behind her ear, flashing back to days when they had shared a few dozen night like this.
He had never told her that he missed these days; them working together as a team; two lonely agents, sharing everything … He knew that those times were long gone, but tonight a glimpse of them was brought back, if only for a few hours.
Carefully, trying not to wake Jenny, Jethro pulled his cellphone out of his pocket and turned it off. Tonight was their night and he would make sure that nothing would disturb them ...
- The End -