A/N: I know, it's been months since last time I posted, but I have had like the most annoying writer's block in the history of writer's blocks :P i have been working on this piece for quite a while, written and rewritten it all over again, but I feel now is the time to post it. Thanks to three-steps for helping me out and encouraging me! Well I hope you like it, and please review! Reviews make me happy :)
He sees her again on a Tuesday. It's been six years, but she looks almost the same; the hair is longer, but still the same fiery scarlet, her eyes still secretive and playful, but perhaps even more guarded than they used to be. Heated memories fill his mind, inevitably brought to the surface the moment he lays eyes on her; their past harbors too much passion and emotions that the memories would even have had the slightest chance at fading over the years. He is surprised to see her, and in a way, he's not. He has never once doubted her ambition or her determination and when he now see her as the new director of NCIS, he can't help but to be proud of her. But that the mere sight of her could still send his head spinning, increase his pulse and make his palm clammy, he had not counted on. He is relieved to see that she is well, after all these years; even though he would think that she is too good an agent to be stuck behind a desk, dealing with the political stuff. He can't quite keep his eyes off of her, letting his gaze drink in her appearance. Her face is scarcely lined at all, her body still slender with teasing curves. She has certainly aged well, he thinks, as he goes over to join her, trying to convince himself that the past won't be a problem. Perhaps trying to convince both of them that the past won't interfere with their work, even though he's not at all sure he can let it go, proven by the comment that bluntly tumbles over his lips, images dancing in his head of just how good she was, especially under the covers. Her voice, as always throaty with a ribbon of silk laced into it, says his name, almost reprimanding, and when the familiarity of the sound washes over him, it's all he can do to not reach out for her. He smiles instead, and smoothly voicing her new title, "Madame Director," but he can't help but to notice the words leave a foul taste in his mouth.
He realizes she's still the Jenny he used to know on a Monday. Even though he's lately beginning to fear that she's holding so fiercely onto her Director's façade that it has become a permanent fixture to her personality. The last couple of weeks it has felt as though all they have done is arguing. But in some twisted, weird way, he enjoys their fights because he had almost forgotten how attractive she is when she's angry. Not that he's planning on telling her that any time soon. However, on this particular Monday afternoon, there is a moment when he looks her directly in the eyes, almost completely taken by the intensity of her green orbs, her raspy voice that has always seemed to crawl under his skin makes a joke that almost borders on inappropriate. His eyes follow her as she retreats back to her office, and he can almost swear she puts an extra sway to her hips, just because she knows he is watching. The glare she throws at him over her shoulder is reprimanding but with a glimmer of mischief in them. He descends the stairs with a smile and thinks that some things never change.
He kisses her on a Thursday. It is an accident. He doesn't really mean to kiss her, it just happens. It is after he brings her dinner during the Danforth case, after they have finished eating and she helps him gather the trash, ignorant of his loud protests. When she for some unknown reason decides to walk him to the door, when he for some unknown reason leans down to press his lips to hers. After this, they don't speak for a week, unless forced to, and they refuse to look each other in the eye, both too stubborn to admit to themselves that what they had shared all these years ago maybe isn't so forgotten as they would like to think. He looks at her in secret, sometimes surprised by the thoughts going through his head, sometimes not able to help wondering what she would do if he walked up there and kissed her again. She watched him discreetly from her place up on the catwalk, stubbornly ignoring the way her heart jolts at the mere sight of him. She doesn't deny that she still finds him attractive, but she distances herself from the emotions that rise within her when in her mind she relives the kiss they shared in her office. They watch each other from a distance, carefully dancing around each other, but the newly resurfaced feelings may be too hard for either of them to suppress.
He sleeps with her on a Wednesday. It is on the night after her kidnapping that he parks his car in her driveway, hesitates for a moment before ringing the bell. He knows she is fine, they have both been in this situation before, and back then it was much worse. But every incident, every trauma, adds another scar to your unconscious. He knows she can handle this, and he is not at all sure why he's come here, but his gut tells him she needs him, and he's always trusted his gut. She opens the door on the third ring, her slacks are wrinkled, her shirt untucked, mascara smeared under her eyes, all evidence that she has been sleeping in the study. If she'd just vacated her desk or the sofa, he cannot tell. He wants to believe the latter, but fears the former is the most probable. His ticket in is the bag of donuts and coffee he'd picked up on his way there, because he'd never admit that this visit is about more than just wanting to make sure she is fine. They spend the following hour talking, the conversation is flowing nicely, it's not too personal, neither is it strictly professional, and all the while they carefully avoid bringing up the kiss from a few weeks ago. He can sense the tension, it is so thick you can cut it with a knife. It feels almost strange, that he is sitting in her study and talking to her the way he is, even though once upon a time it hadn't been strange at all. It is almost awkward, like neither of them knows what to say and how to act. She sits in the leather armchair opposite of him, staring into her tumbler of bourbon and he is unable to read the expression on her face. She starts talking about the events of the day, that she knew he'd find her in time. That she had had faith in him. Her tone, hushed, as though sharing something intimate, spoken in her voice that feels like roughened silk to his senses, pulls him out of his chair and before his mind catches up with his body's actions, he is holding her in his arms, his fingers gently stroking through her short red locks. She stiffens at this unexpected action, but as an inexplicable feeling of vulnerability washes over her, she leans into his embrace and when his lips seeks out hers in the shadows of her study, she tugs him closer, craving his warmth and seeking her refuge in the security of being back in his arms. It's a night of heated passion, as their lips crash together, hands rediscovering secret places that had never really been forgotten, bodies melding into one as he rolls her over on the damp, rumpled sheets. She laces her fingers through his, traces her mouth over the new scars on his skin that weren't there seven years ago. He holds her tight, her warm, sweaty body wrapped around his, legs tangled together beneath the sheets. He threads his hand through her hair, resting his cheek against her head, feeling the steady beat of her heart and the calm rise and fall of her chest, evidence that she is still alive.
He takes her dancing on a Saturday. Lights spill out over the lawn in his backyard, music drifting through the open backdoor. A slow jazz. There are plates and wine glasses on the wooden table with the white tablecloth. Candles glow in the semi-dark of the dusk. His hands are on her body, pressing into the thin fabric of her dress, her skin warm beneath his fingers. The air is still, it is almost silent save for the music and the sound of their breaths expelled in the crisp air of the early autumn. Gentle fingers play with the hair at the back of his neck, her forehead buried in his shoulder. The scent of her perfume and the flowers in his garden fills him up inside and he almost feels weightless. He closes his eyes; the grass is cool beneath his bare feet, her body rhythmically swaying in his arms. Her head lifts from his shoulder, her hands touching the collar of his shirt, moving up to cup his face. She kisses him slowly, her lips soft and moist, carefully running her tongue along his lower lip. They are no longer moving to the music, except their mouths and tongues and hands that ravish each other's bodies. Gathering scarlet hair in his hands, he holds her close, and kisses her, almost possessively, as though trying to brand her as his. He couldn't know she had belonged to him from the first time he had touched her.
They fall apart on a Sunday. The La Grenouille case has taken a toll on them, and the lies force them further and further apart. They fight over secrets unrevealed, and sometimes he's not even sure what they're fighting about, he just feels an overwhelming need to yell at her, and it always culminates in reckless, frantic sex. But the anger that had used to be resolved by taking her hard against the closest piece of furniture now lingers in his blood long after he's left her house. The lies are there, wrapping around them like a blanket, effectively suffocating them. Suffocating their love and passion for one another. At last, they fight over the smallest things, can barely stand to be in the same room together, and not even anger is enough to provoke them into having sex. He feels further away from her than when she was across the Atlantic Ocean. In the end, it becomes too much, too many hurtful words having been thrown in each others faces, he can no longer stand listening to her soft crying and not be able to do a damn thing about it. There's so much anger and hurt and lies that he begins to wonder, how had they come to this? So on a disastrous Sunday night, he leaves her house with his duffel bag, not looking back, but in the reflection on his car, he sees the curtain flowing back in place.
They find their way back to each other on a Friday. They have silently and gradually made peace over the months that had passed since their disastrous break-up, eventually coming to terms with the other person's choice of keeping their secrets, deep down understanding all the reasons for their decision. But some wounds cut too deep, and they have both broken each others heart two times too many, and would a third try at a relationship result in two hearts too damaged to ever be healed? She is scared of what they can do to each other, the pain they can cause, but at the same time she knows how good they can be for each other. On this Friday night, Carson is fast asleep in her guest bedroom, and she is following Jethro down the stairs. She smiles at the thought of him being back in her house, but the smile dies on her lips when he grabs his coat. Can she really watch him walk away, just like that? They have both made mistakes and they are likely to make many more, because neither of them is flawless and both too stubborn to own up to their flaws. But maybe, when the time come that you recognize your mistake, it is the right time to rectify it. She almost hesitantly brings up the past, what they had been once upon a time, bluntly asking him to stay, and almost instantly regrets it because maybe they're not quite ready for the confessions and truths they would have to face. She fears it will lead them down the path of bad memories and difficult choices. Maybe it is too soon, maybe the wounds are still too fresh, maybe they are set too deep to ever be healed, but seeing him as relaxed as he is looking tonight, gives her a spark of hope. Hope that even though all the lies and secrets, love truly does conquer all. The slow jazz floating from her study brings her back in time for a brief moment. In her mind she sees the set table, the empty wine bottle and their feet in the grass. Blinking, and the image is gone. He looks at her. Just looks. For a long time he does so, but it is not intimidating. His eyes are warm. She can tell he is making up his mind, and maybe for just a second, she stops breathing, because she realizes it is now she may lose him for good. And then, after what surely must be hours of long, lingering looks, he shucks off his coat and throws it over the banister. Grabbing her wrist, he yanks her to him, holds her against his rapidly beating heart, drags his fingers through her hair and inhales the soothing, exotic scent of her conditioner. He closes his eyes, reveling in the way her body fits against his, his mind reeling. But he's made his choice, even though he doesn't know where it will lead them, but he cannot ignore the way he is drawn to her, almost like gravity, and in a way it scares him because he'd never wanted to feel something like this for another woman again. But it is hard to trick gravity. She lifts her head off his chest, staring up at him with large, expressive eyes, and he reaches for her face, traces the contours of her lips, cups her cheek. And then, he kisses her, just as deep and passionate as ever, just maybe a bit more desperate; it's been too long without reveling in her kisses, and damn, he hadn't dare admit to himself how much he had missed them. He runs his fingers over every part of her he can reach, feeling the gentle curves of her body as she pressed herself harder against him, overpowered by the need to be as close to him as possible, while he kisses away the tears staining her cheeks. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that they lied, it doesn't matter that they kept secrets. All that matters is that they are who they are, that the unfulfilled promises still have a chance at becoming fulfilled, and that gravity will keep on pulling him back to her.