To learn more about Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' Stages of grief I advise google-ing or Wikipedia. It's not a psychological theory that continued to hold, there has been a lot of research, but most of it is inconclusive or dismisses it. Either way, it's the basis for my post JD fic, finally finished after years of denial.

--

Denial

"Agent Gibbs!" He doesn't listen to the voice calling him back to the office. Gibbs stalks out of the quadroom, not even waiting for the elevator, just running down the stairs to get rid of the energy.

Director Vance glances down into the squadroom, seeing Gibbs' new team quickly turn around, getting back to their work. They knew their team leader wasn't following the rules set out by their new Director. Even less than he used to follow them.

At home, he doesn't even feel like working on the boat. After a few hours, he threw his tools in the corner of the basement and went upstairs.

His own living room didn't even feel familiar anymore. Something was missing. He grabbed the bottle of bourbon he'd left on the liquor cabinet. Not even bothering to grab a glass, but opting to drink straight out of the bottle.

When he takes the last swig, too soon after the first one, he finds his cellphone. Dialing her number out of memory.

It was the only number he knew by heart.

'This number is out of service, please check and try again.'

And he tried again, time after time.

"God Jen, this shopping spree of yours has taken too long. You have an agency to run Madam Director, you shouldn't be running off to Paris every chance you get."

There wasn't even a chance his message could be recorded. So he spoke the words to her picture instead. The picture she'd left him of herself in Serbia.

The next morning he woke up with his cellphone and the empty bottle next to him. And the painful reminder that she would never be able to yell at him again.

---

Anger

Two weeks later, he found himself at the cemetery. The flowers on her grave were almost gone, and he'd brought new one to replace them with.

She never liked to see flowers die.

He'd given up his fight with Vance, knowing that he had to accept the other man if he wanted to remain in NCIS. Retirement had never sounded so good. Mike had told him there was still a six pack of beers waiting for him in Mexico.

Retirement, or as she'd called it, his margarita safari hadn't been the right choice then. When Ziva'd called he was itching to go back to work. Not that he'd ever admit it. Especially not after the conversation with Jenny. She didn't want him back. He'd been surprised and hurt after her revelation. There hadn't even been an eye twitch to convince him that she hadn't meant it.

Now he knew it was the only way she could keep her secret operation running behind his back.

Something inside him started to stir. Her keeping secrets, going after the frog, involving Tony, keeping her illness from him. Why hadn't she trusted him? She'd kept things from him before, back in Europe, usually he'd found out about them. All of them except Svetlana.

"God Jen, you could've trusted me. Remember rule number one? And don't even thing of throwing back number four. The exception was made for a reason. No one can get out of everything on their own!"

His voice got louder as he continued his rant.

"And what were you thinking, leaving me that letter. You should be glad that it was me who found it. Can you imagine what it could've been like if someone outed your activities to the press, or to SecNav and the President? Why do I always have to keep saving your ass. Oh I know you returned the favor almost as often but at least my actions had a point, a purpose. "

As sudden as he'd blown up, he quieted down again. She had a purpose, clearing her father's name. Not that it had done anything good in the end. If she'd told him, he could've assisted her, used his own connections in the marines to find new intel.

Maybe he still could. Gibbs wondered for a moment, but then his gaze fell back on the headstone. What was the point? It wouldn't bring him Jenny back.

In defeat he threw the flowers down and walked away.

---

Bargaining

After his rant at the cemetery, he got thinking. Gibbs knew that the one thing that would mean the world to Jenny was to see her father's name cleared. Unfortunately most of her research had burned in the fire, but that didn't stop him from starting his own investigation. It was as if trying hard enough, solving this mystery could somehow bring Jenny back. Or at least keep her memory alive for a long time.

He knew from experience that revenge wasn't an option, that bringing the murderer to justice wasn't going to bring her back.

But he didn't care, he would die trying.

Unfortunately he hit the same roadblocks as Jen had. And maybe even more, she did have more clearance than him.

The only possible sources of information had died. Borov and Benoit.

He would do anything to solve her mystery, but he when he finally admitted to himself that it couldn't bring her back, it didn't make a difference. He was in too deep.

---

Depression

Ducky descended into the dark basement, the only light was that of the streetlights outside. It took him some time to get used to the darkness, but when he did, he found Jethro too.

He was sleeping on an old sofa in the corner of the basement, and judging by the empty bottles of bourbon, scotch and wodka he'd had a busy day. Ducky approached his old friend, hoping that he wouldn't wake up just yet. It gave him a chance to study his friend's face.

The troubled look hadn't disappeared in his sleep, there was still a small frown in place. And it looked like he hadn't used a razor in quite some time. This wasn't a five o'clock shadow, it was a full beard.

He remembered Jethro returning from Mexico with a moustache, but this was ten times worse. He didn't know how his friend had been after Shannon and Kelly's deaths, but he imagined it was something like this.

Ducky knew his friend wasn't ready for his help, wasn't ready to talk about anything just yet. So he cleared away the empty bottles, put a new bottle of real Scottish Whisky on the workbench and a tupperware box with mother's famous stew next to it.

Before he left the house, he grabbed a blanket from upstairs and covered his friend with it. When he got to the top of the stairs he heard Jethro call his name. His voice hoarse.

"Thanks Duck."

Ducky smiled. "Anytime Jethro."

---

Acceptance

"Hey. I brought you coffee. Black, nothing in it, just the way you like it." He put the mug down in front of him.

"Yeah, I know you can't drink it, but it's the thought that counts right?"

"I'm sorry that it took me so long to come over. I wasn't ready. Yes I really did say I was sorry, you don't have to remind me of my own rules."

He was silent for a moment. Enjoying the silence that surrounded him.

"The team misses you, you know. Especially Ziva, and Abby."

He hesitated for a moment. And then put the small wooden model of a boat next to the coffeecup. With a fine brush he had painted her name on the stern.

"I miss you too, but you knew that didn't you? Did you see them yet? How are they? I.. " He hesitated, not knowing what to say. "send them my love, okay?"

His hand brushed over the stone and he turned around. Leaving the damping hot cup of coffee behind on the ground in front of it with a note laying under it.

Dear Jenny,

I told Mike that I taught you how to accept the things that came with the job. And I suppose I'll have to accept this. Even if it's one of the most difficult things I have to do.

Love, Jethro.