A/N: Ok ok ok... i KNOW i havent posted one of my episodic explorations of characters in FOREVER. i KNOW. its been a rough summer. BUT.... I wanted to post this. I just wrote it. I'm going through a really rough patch with the guy I'm dating (rough enough that I think we're going to break up) and this was my venting tool..... ENJOY. read and review PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

DISCLAIMER: I own NOTHING. Or else Jen wouldn't be dead... and there'd be Gibblets. LOTS of gibblets. More gibblets than we could count.


NCIS Director Jennifer Shepard's attention focused on the man lying in the bed, silent and still. She glanced at the clock on the wall of the hospital room. 9 A.M. she sniffled and wiped the fresh tears from her already tear and mascara stained face with shaking hands. Twenty four hours ago their lives had been so different. She shook her head, her short auburn locks limply holding their style from the night before . Her heart broke with each glance at him in the bed. The burns that covered his skin, the debris still in his hair and still stuck on his skin, her hand millimeters above his skin, ran the length of his arm and chest.

He had been the man she was in love with; the man who once upon a time had been her prince charming and had been invincible. She took his limp hand in hers, the meds he was on knocked him out for a while. She held their hands together, palm to palm, reveling and smiling at the way his hand could swallow hers. Invincible he was not, her prince charming he'd forever be.

A moan emanated from his throat as he began to toss and turn in the bed. "Shannon." She leaned forward a bit, "Jethro?" He screamed and gripped his fists, "No! SHANNON!" His fist wrapped around her smaller hand, tears pricked her eyes at his intense grip. She struggled to get her hand free. Finally pulling her hand from his grip she hit the nurse button.

She leaned up and began to wipe his brow and face. "Sshhh I'm here. Shhhh." The nurse entered, "Ma'am?" Jen turned to her, "He's…" she gestured to him with tears running down her face; His writhing and screaming form on the bed killing a part of her with each painful sound. She captured his fist in her hands and kissed the top of it, glancing up at his sweat soaked face and tear tracks she reached up and ran the pad of her thumb along under his eyes. The Nurse administered the anxiety meds and left with instructions to call if she was needed.

He drowns in his dreams
An exquisite extreme unknown
He's as damned as he seems
But more Heaven than a heart could hold

She grabbed a soft wash cloth and wiped his brow as he relived the nightmare again. She shook him gently and spoke in soft tones, "Jethro, wake up." She gripped his hands and begged as tears threatened to spill from her own eyes with each passing moment of his flailing and screaming for his lost daughter and wife. "JETHRO!" she yelled his name. He bolted upright. She pulled him into her arms as he began to sob into her shoulder. She swallowed hard and rubbed his back and shoulders softly, supporting him. She moved them to lie down, her arms still wrapped around him. He slid down, resting his head on her chest and wrapping his arms around her torso. She softly ran her hand over his head and soothed him. "I'm so sorry Jethro. I'm so sorry I couldn't protect you from this." His sobs ebbed as time went on and finally ended as his breathing evened out signaling that sleep had claimed him. She sighed and continued to soothe him, needing to comfort him as much as she could; for both their sakes.

And if I tried to save him
My whole world could cave in
Just ain't right
Just ain't right
Oh and I don't know
I don't know what he's after
But he's so beautiful
Such a beautiful disaster
If I could hold on
Through the tears and the laughter
Would it be beautiful
Or just a beautiful disaster

She couldn't remember ever seeing him this way; vulnerable, empty, almost soul-less. She sat next to the bed, watching him as he flipped through the TV stations and finally turned the TV off. He dropped the remote on the bed and turned to her, "I want to go home." She sighed and looked at him with sad green eyes, "I know." She reached for his hand and slid hers into his, "I know Jethro. I want you to go home too." He pulled his hand back and gritted his jaw as he stared at her, "YOU don't know anything. I don't even know you. How would you know what the HELL this feels like or what I want?" She dropped her head as his volume rose and licked her lips, trying hard not to let him see her hurt. His words were sharp and stung with each slice into her chest and soul. She kept forgetting that he couldn't remember her… that she was just another face that meant little more than nothing to him. He softened and sighed, "I'm sorry." Her head lifted and she blinked as she looked at him, he cleared his throat, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I can't help you. I'm sorry I don't remember you. I'm sorry I can't remember how much I must've loved you." His eyes met her and for the first time in a long time, she saw the genuine feelings that she'd thought had long disappeared. She cautiously stood and leaned over him from the side of the bed and touched his cheek gently with her fingertips, "Don't apologize. It's a sign of weakness."

He's magic and myth
As strong as what I believe
A tragedy with
More damage than a soul should see
And do I try to change him
So hard not to blame him
Hold me tight
Baby hold me tight

She hadn't expected his return to be what it was, and yet she couldn't say she was surprised; Barging in at the last moment, playing the rebel hero with all the answers. She always had known he knew what he was doing, had always instinctively trusted his professional opinion. His track record at work spoke for itself and whether or not she believed in his infamous gut, she'd stand behind him 100%. She watched with awed eyes as he tore into the people on the screen and fought for what he knew was the right thing, the right answer, the right terrorist. Her hands shook as she reached for him as he stormed off before turning to the screen and watching as their ship blew up; Her body jumping at the explosion and the overwhelming shock of losing all those men and women in one swift second. She'd never admit it, but if she'd been given the chance in that moment, she would've sold her soul to the devil to turn back time and try to make them understand how RIGHT Jethro really was.

"Thought you left." It was a soft whisper that fell from her lips but she knew he heard it. She shut her office door behind her and stepped into the dimly lit room, pouring herself a glass of bourbon and sitting down across from him. "You did your best Jethro. You tried and… that's more than any of us could've asked for." She reached for his hand and was surprised when he took hers in his, "Jen…" She lifted her eyes to his and saw the pain, the ache that had been there in the hotel but seemed only doubled now, "I can't do this anymore." He cleared his throat and shook his head, "I was angry at Mike. I never understood how he could quit... until now." He released her hand and stood. She stood and followed him as he went down and spoke to his team, her eyes darting over his motions and following him to the stairs. She pleaded with him as their eyes connected, pleaded not to leave and to stay here with her. "Semper Fi." She exhaled and gripped the railing while locking her knees to keep from falling. He was gone.

Oh and I don't know
I don't know what he's after
But he's so beautiful
Such a beautiful disaster
If I could hold on
Through the tears and the laughter
Would it be beautiful
Or just a beautiful disaster
I'm longing for love and the logical
But he's only happy hysterical
I'm waiting for some kind of miracle
Waiting so long

He couldn't help himself. He checked his watch again- 3 hours until his flight left. He knocked on her door gently and smiled as it opened. The same familiar look of smeared mascara and eyeliner staining her cheeks in long trails greeted him as she poked her head round the door. She didn't say anything, just stepped away from the door and headed to her stairs. She sat down on the bottom steps and wrapped her arms around herself as he came in and dropped his bag next to the door. He shut the door and knelt in front of her, "You know why I'm doing it right? You understand?" She shook her head slowly as her hands slid up into her hair. She dropped her head and sniffled softly as her body shook with each silent sob. She wasn't ready to say goodbye to him and here in the privacy of her own home, she could show him that. His hands grazed her shoulders and massaged them in gentle circles, "Jenny… Jen…" He maneuvered his hand under her chin and tilted her head up, "You know where I'll be." She shook her head and croaked softly between gasps, "Not. The. Same." She sniffled and closed her eyes as he wiped gently at her tears and pressed a gentle kiss over each eye, "Jen… come on… it gives you somewhere to escape to when DiNozzo drives you crazy." She couldn't help but chuckle softly at his tease and opened her eyes as she lightly smacked his cheek, "You bastard. You would make me fall for you all over again and then leave." He smirked and pulled her into a hug rubbing her back, "You've always known what that second B stood for Jen."

He's soft to the touch
But frayed at the ends he breaks
He's never enough
And still he's more than I can take

Oh and I don't know
I don't know what he's after
But he's so beautiful
Such a beautiful disaster
If I could hold on
Through the tears and the laughter
Would it be beautiful
Or just a beautiful disaster