Author's Note: So here it is, the promised collabaration with Elflordsmistress. This is a supernatural fic.
As it is a supernatural story, you will have to take it with a handful of salt. This is not a story to take seriously :)
My last point is to let you know that updates will be roughly between 7 and 10 days, and we aim to stick to this schedule.
So without further ado, here begins our tale.
She could feel someone watching her.
Nonchalantly, Jennifer Sheppard glanced to her left. Hector was standing there, staring resolutely ahead. Just as he had been the last time she'd chanced a look at him. Giving herself an internal shake, Jenny told herself that she was being foolish. That it was simply the dark and the cold playing on her nerves. Silently willing the tiny hairs on the back of her neck to stand down, she tried to focus on the positive aspects of her day.
She'd had one hell of a win.
She allowed herself a triumphant grin at the memory; her head dipping as she did so, so that her face was hidden from those accompanying her by a curtain of her hair. She hated people knowing what she was thinking or feeling. Was a firm believer that the element of surprise gave her an advantage.
Still, it was nice to allow herself that small moment to acknowledge her achievement. She'd managed to secure the biggest increase in budget that NCIS had seen to date. It had taken months of preparation. Long days and longer nights spent putting together a presentation on why they deserved such an increase. But it had been worth it. Another feather in her cap, was the way Sec Nav had described it.
Jenny's smile widened at the thought of the Abby's delight at the news that she was getting coveted new equipment. It wasn't very often that she got to pass on that kind of happy news, so she was planning to savour it.
The smile fell from her lips though, as another shudder ran through her. Despite her best attempts to block the feeling, the shiver traversed her spine and goosebumps broke out over her arms. She still felt as though someone was staring at her, their eyes burning through her. As casually as she could manage, she glanced behind her. There were people behind her; milling around the entrance to the building. But none were paying her any undue attention. Frowning, she shook her head and looked ahead again, only to find Hector staring at her in mild concern. His head inclined towards her as he queried, "Director?"
Jenny pasted a seemingly unconcerned smile onto her face as she replied, "I'm fine, Hector." Adding, on seeing the unconvinced look on his face, "I'm just cold."
His gaze lingered on her slightly longer than necessary, before he gave a short, sharp nod and replied, "car's on it's way round. It should only be another minute or so."
Jenny nodded briefly, then quickly looked away, although she still caught the look that flittered across Hector's face, and saw him tense slightly, as though he was now anticipating something was going to happen.
Jenny glanced at her watch and let out a low breath, now even more determined than ever to get the hell out of there. Although she liked Hector, she hated the fact he seemed inclined to be overbearing and overprotective. It wasn't that she didn't appreciate his concern, it was just that part of her missed the freedom she'd taken for granted before becoming Director.
The next few seconds passed in silence before she saw black town car appear. She only narrowly resisted the urge to let out a large sigh of relief when it pulled up in front of her. She flashed a brief smile up at Hector as he held the car door open for her, and slid into the warm, safe interior. She heard the car door slam shut, heard the heavy footsteps of the man accompanying her as he moved around to the front of the car, and allowed herself to sink back into her seat. Her eyes fluttering shut for a moment as her muscles unclenched, and the feeling of being watched slipped away from her. Rolling her neck, her shut eyelids tightened minutely as her tense muscles seemed to scream in protest. She shook her head and a small laugh escaped her lips, it was foolish of her to think that someone was watching her, it had simply been the eerie atmosphere that had seemed to permeate the November air. Opening her eyes, she rubbed at her temples with the thumb and forefinger of one hand. She was obviously getting paranoid as she got older she thought.
She pushed the fact that this wasn't the first time she'd felt like this to the recesses of her mind.
Shuffling further back into her seat, Jenny leaned her head against the darkened glass of the window, and as the discomfort of a few minutes ago faded away into nothing more than a bad memory, she allowed her smile from earlier to tug at her lips again. This time she had no need to hide her delight.
Dark eyes watched from across the street as the town car drove away. He might as well have never been there as he faded into nothingness.
Shrugging her heavy red coat off her shoulders, Jenny strolled casually into the outer office, her business like steps pausing when she noticed her assistant still sitting at her desk, resolutely typing away. "Cynthia, you didn't need to wait for me to get back, you should have just headed home, it's already after six."
The younger woman lifted her face away from the almost piercing light of her computer, and flashed her boss a tired, yet genuine smile, replying, "I just really wanted to finish this before I go home. I heard the meeting went well. Congratulations"
Pushing down her natural inclination to grin like a maniac, Jenny gave a small nod, "Good news obviously travels fast."
Cynthia raised an eyebrow at the reply. From the gleam in the redhead's eye the success of the day meant more to her than she was letting on, she was very obviously in a good mood. Cynthia tapped her fingers somewhat nervously against the wooden desk. It wasn't very often that the Director was given a reason to smile, and she really didn't want to ruin that, but she had no choice but to tell her.
She spoke up hesitantly. "Agent Gibbs was looking for you earlier."
"He didn't say, but he was rather insistent that he talk to you."
Cynthia watched as the older woman's jaw tensed slightly, a muscle in her cheek twitching, although to her credit her voice was smooth and even as she replied, "Well I'm sure that if it's that important he'll be up here within the next five minutes. No doubt word will get round that I'm back."
Jenny shifted her bag more securely onto her shoulder, adding, "and Cynthia .. go home."
"I will," Cynthia nodded. Smiling slightly at the irony of being ordered home by one of the Agencies two workaholics. "Just as soon as I've finished this," she finished.
Jenny's mouth twisted in wry amusement. "Fine." She waved her hand, her voice lilting slightly in laughter. "Just don't be too long. I'd hate to think my habits are rubbing off on you." And with a supremely amused smile at the look of surprise on Cynthia's face, she turned and walked into her office.
Letting the door fall shut behind her, Jenny carefully hung her coat on the stand and moved over to her sofa. Dragging a hand through her hair as she did so. She really didn't want Jethro charging in and spoiling her good mood, because from the sounds of things she very much doubted that he wanted a friendly chat. There hadn't been much of that between them recently. Things had been strained since she'd sent Dinozzo undercover, and it didn't look as though that would be changing anytime soon.
She flopped down onto the comfortable cushions next to her bag. Keeping her heels on, because despite the fact they were beginning to pinch, she wanted the extra height if she was going to have yet another battle with Jethro. He always stood really close to her when they argued and she was in no mood to crane her neck to look up at him today.
As she tilted her head back, rolling her neck against the edge of the cushions, she caught a flash of something white on her desk. Her curiosity piqued - mainly because she'd left a clear desk - she stood up and moved swiftly over to the desk, her eyes widening when she saw what was sitting on the polished wood. Three unblemished Calla lilies stood out against the darkness of the wood; their long stems bound in crimson ribbon. Reaching out, she let a manicured fingernail run along one of the petals; smiling slightly at the silky feel of it as the scent hit her nostrils. Her smile widened when she saw the card - and faded when she saw the script. The letters were written in an almost calligraphic style. Penned in black ink. It wasn't the handwriting that had her heart racing and her breathing quickening though.
My congratulations on your win today.
After all your hard work, you deserve it.
Jenny frowned, trying to figure out who could possibly have sent this. Yes everyone had known about today's meeting, the Agency had been on tenterhooks waiting for the news. But there hadn't been enough time for flowers to be delivered, and she certainly didn't have that kind of a relationship with the Secretary of the Navy.
She turned it over in her hand.
No flower company logo or phone number on it.
The feeling of unease made her skin crawl all over again.
She was so engrossed trying to recognise the handwriting, she didn't register her door opening until Jethro's voice filled the room.
"You done ass kissin' on the hill?"
She jumped slightly. Her shoulders jerking as the card fell from her fingers and landed on the desk.
"What do you want, Jethro?"
Gibbs frowned as he took in the defensive tone. In itself that was not unusual. The fact that she had actually jumped when he'd stormed in - now that was unusual. She was never surprised by his barging in, she hadn't even so much as blinked the very first time he'd done it, and yet just now there had been a brief moment where she'd looked absolutely terrified. Moving forward, he frowned as she seemed to move to one side. Almost as if she were trying to block something from his view. He attempted to scan the desk, but there was nothing of note in his line of vision.
His eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Problem?"
Her gaze followed his, and his frown returned when he saw a brief look of confusion cross her face. As soon as it appeared though it was gone, though, and she merely raised an eyebrow at him.
"I asked you a question first. What do you want?"
His eyes narrowed at that. It was never a good sign when she started avoiding answering his questions. Continuing to stare at her, clearly hoping she'd crack, he replied, "you authorised all the records of an old case of mine's to be handed over to the FBI."
Jen shrugged. "They believe that he's connected to a couple of their cold cases, I saw no harm in them looking."
"You could have given me some warning. Didn't particularly enjoy hearing about it from Fornell."
She tucked a strand of hair neatly behind her ear, and his frown deepened. She was on edge and was trying to pretend otherwise, and with anyone else she would have gotten away with it. But he knew her too well. Could hear the hint of strain in her voice as she replied, "I'll keep that in mind if it happens again."
She gestured towards the door, indicating that he leave, but he ignored her. This entire conversation hadn't gone as he'd thought it would. He'd expected a full blown argument, an entirely different reaction when he stormed into her office. But instead she seemed to desperately want him out of her office - and he wanted to know why.
He moved forward, and she mimicked him, as if to block his movements, repeating, "If that's all, Agent Gibbs .."
"I answered your question .." He let his statement float in the air for a minute. Watched as the realization flared in her eyes and her stance became even more defensive. Then he gave a brief smirk and took another step towards her.
Jenny gave a small chuckle, her teeth biting briefly into her lower lip as she did so. She shook her head looking somewhat amused, "You wanted to talk to me about the case reports that were given to our sister Agency, I however do not want to talk to you about anything." She waved one hand towards the door, but she made the fatal mistake of brushing her hand distractedly across the desk. Catching the white card and sending it fluttering to the floor; directly in front of Jethro's feet. In the brief seconds that followed, she watched as Jethro leaned over to pick up the card in question - and cursed inwardly. She crossed her arms, raising an eyebrow in what she hoped was in a casual expression as his eyes scanned the writing.
Gibbs looked up at the desk, now catching sight of the flowers lying on the desk. Flowers that obviously had her on edge, and that she'd tried to hide from him. The cogs in his head went into over-drive as he tapped a finger against the white card.
"People don't feel the need to sign their name these days?" He watched her carefully. Trying to gauge if his gut instinct was right.
Gibbs's eyes narrowed at the strained edge in Jenny's voice, it wasn't an emotion he was used to hearing from her, and he glanced down at the card again and frowned, "You do know who sent these?"
Her eyes flickered away from his, no longer meeting his intense stare. She brushed an errant strand of hair away from her face as she replied distractedly, "No, actually I don't."
His glare darkened in intensity, and Jen sucked in a breath and admitting "I don't have a clue."
"Do you recognise the writing?"
"No." Jenny sucked in a deep breath, her tone grudging she said again, "No, I've never seen it before and it's pretty distinctive."
Not liking the way this conversation was going, and seeing the deepening glare on Gibbs's face, Jenny moved away from her desk, heading to the cabinet on the far side of the room and removing a bottle of bourbon, splashing a liberal amount into a glass and sipping at it slowly.
Gibbs continued to watch her. This was bothering her, he could tell. He turned on his heel abruptly and headed towards the door. His reaction causing Jenny to straighten so that she was no longer leaning against the dark wood cabinet, but her confusion dissipated when he barked, "Cynthia, here. Now!"
She rolled her eyes. "Agent Gibbs I would appreciate it if you didn't call my assistant as though she were a dog."
Cynthia appeared in the doorway looking flustered; her coat on and obviously in the middle of preparing to head home. She looked from Jenny to Gibbs with wide eyes. "Is there a problem, Director?"
Jenny stepped forward, sensing where Jethro was going with this and not wanting him interrogating her assistant - who she liked and had no compulsion to replace. "I was just wondering which company delivered the flowers?"
Cynthia's forehead creased in confusion and she stuttered slightly, "What flowers?"
Gibbs stepped forward, crowding the younger woman's personal space. "Someone must have delivered these."
Cynthia glanced between the two in confusion and then looked in the direction Gibbs was pointing.
"Were you here all day?" he asked.
"I left the desk for about twenty minutes to go to HR, but Director Sheppard's door has been locked since she left. And the door to the outer office was locked when I wasn't here."
Gibbs turned and glanced at Jenny. "When you got back-"
"My door was locked," Jenny confirmed.
Gibbs met Jenny's eyes, taking note of the conflict of emotions that were flashing across them. Then he glanced down at the card again and stormed out of the room.
Jenny stood stock still for a brief second - before finally coming to her senses and following him as he stormed along the catwalk.
She drew level with him at the top of the stairs.
"Jethro?" she asked as he snapped his phone shut.
"Hector's on his way up," he said sharply as he stabbed a finger at her. "You stay in your office till I get to the bottom of this!"