After seeing Hiatus the thought occurred to me, "What if Kelly had lived?" From there several possibilities were born and this is the one that stuck. So here we are now.
Disclaimer: Maybe is I squeeze my eyes shut really tight and wish really hard when I open them I'll own NCIS (does so; then cracks one open, looking around before opening both eyes) nope, don't own NCIS or anything therein. (sigh) I also do not own the title; I got it from the poem Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Chapter 1: Kelly
Jenny was curled into Jethro's side with her head resting on his shoulder. He had his arms wrapped around her, one hand gently stroking her arm; the other was running through her hair. She traced patterns across his chest, thinking.
"What do you do when you are home?" she asked.
His hand stilled and he tensed; she could basically hear him thinking. They had not known each other that long and this was only their second time together, but she had found herself able to read him as easily as he could read her, which was unusual for both of them. She could tell he was trying to decide how to answer, serious or joke; how much to tell her.
He began stroking her arm again.
"I'm building a boat."
She raised her eyebrows, looking up at him. "Sail?"
He gave her a look.
Her lips twitched. "Never mind." She settled her head back in its original position. "Where are you building it?"
"In my basement."
Her head shot up to look at him again. "You're serious?"
"You're serious." She lowered her head again. "How are you going to get it out?"
He shrugged. "Haven't really thought about it."
She chuckled and began to trace patterns on his chest again. "Anything else?"
He was debating.
The silence continued for so long that Jenny thought he was not going to answer; she could not blame him, their relationship was very new. She was willing to wait if that was what he needed.
"I have a daughter."
She stilled at his sudden announcement before lifting her head, looking at him. "What's her name?"
"Kelly." He relaxed some. "She's 13."
She rested her chin on the back of her hand, atop his chest, watching him. "What's she like?"
"Long brown hair, blue eyes – "
Her lips twitched as she gently hit his chest. "Jethro. You know very well what I really meant."
He smirked. "Stubborn as hell and smart as a whip, with a very sharp sense of humor to go with it." He stared up at the ceiling distant in thought. "As beautiful inside as she is outside, if not more so; a gentle heart and so joyful and full of life. I don't usually do sappy, but I have to say that she is like a ray of sunshine."
Jenny could not help smiling at how his face and tone softened as he spoke of his daughter. It was certainly a side of Jethro that was rarely, if ever, seen by anyone, except perhaps his daughter. "Who is she staying with while you're away?"
"Her best friend Maddie and her family." He chuckled. "Those two have been joined at the hip for most of their lives; Maddie half lives at our house and Kelly half lives at her house."
Jenny grinned. "B.F.F.s?"
Jethro nodded. "Normally I wouldn't believe that a friendship started so young would last but in their case…"
Jenny looked up at him, resting her chin on his chest. "What does she like to do?"
He looked down at her, one of his hands tucked behind his head. "She does ballet, choir, horseback riding and she has me teaching her how to shoot and defend herself. Her favorite class is science, she has voiced an interest in becoming a ME and asks Ducky hundreds of questions."
She laughed, laying her cheek back down on his chest, "Ducky must love that."
"Oh he does," he agreed, humor tingeing his tone.
They were silent for several moments. Jenny could tell that he wanted to say something, but he was trying to decide whether or not to.
Jethro swallowed hard. "She wants to meet you."
Jenny lifted herself up to look down at him. "Do you want me to meet her?"
He looked at her with that all too familiar watchful gaze, knowing what she meant by that question, before nodding. "I would."
She smiled. "I would love to meet Kelly."
I have not found any stories yet that deal with this premise but if someone has written such a story I want them to know that I am not intentionally plagiarizing. Please let me know what you think! Praise and constructive criticism are appreciated and adored. The only use I have for flames is to satisfy my pyro tendencies.