A/N: It's Mother's Day here in the UK and I can never remember the US date. This was written for my Nan - the 'Olive' in this piece. I hope she's read the paper copy by now...
Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. Jane Howard
Jennifer Shepard stared at her phone, unsure whether she wanted to obey Rule Three and keep it on her or throw it out the window of her car.
The day had started fairly well for a Sunday – she'd treated herself to a lie-in, her shower had relaxed and warmed her, she'd taken her time to eat breakfast and get ready. Hector had brought the car around, smiling his greeting at her only when he was certain she was completely safe.
The drive had started off well. Little to no traffic on the streets made for a smooth journey. With no paperwork to complete in the back of the car, she had, for once, been left with her own thoughts.
Today was Mother's Day. She had not celebrated for a great many years; her mother has passed long ago and she had no children of her own. As a child, she had loved the day, presenting her mother with everything she had made at school, loving the smile on her face. The day had been one of bliss, one she had longed to repeat on a more regular basis.
And then her mother had died and life in the Shepard household had changed. All the joy, all the life seemed to have been sucked out. She knew her father loved her and she loved him, but it had never been the same. His pain at the loss of his wife had never quite left him and it hadn't helped that she looked surprisingly like her mother. Every time he had looked at her, she had seen the pain in his eyes.
The day had become one of sadness, of sorrow; a day no longer celebrated.
Her phone had rung, drawing her out of her thoughts. Her initial thought was that it involved Jethro – either he had forgotten it was a Sunday and decided to bug her, ignored that it was a Sunday and decided to bug her, or had pissed someone off enough to make them disrupt her on a Sunday.
But her face had lit up when she had seen the caller ID. Olive. Her childhood friend. Still best friends, despite the geographical distance between them nowadays. Olive had settled in the warmth of California while Jenny was stuck on the East Coast.
Their conversation had been full of fun, of joy. Olive had cheerfully recounted her morning with her three perfect daughters – breakfast in bed, showers of affection, gifts both handmade and bought. She was being fussed over and not allowed to lift a finger.
By the time they had said their goodbyes, Jenny was exhausted, however much she loved her friend. She had been reminded that she had no children of her own, no one to come home to at the end of the day. She wondered if it had been worth it to follow her beloved Five Point Plan when there was no one to share her success with.
Sitting in the back of the car, she sighed. Why on Earth was she going into work on a Sunday? Mothering Sunday no less.
The car pulled into the Navy Yard and stopped to let her out. Feeling utterly despondent, she stepped out, determined to leave as soon as she could.
The Navy Yard was silent. Jenny was used to seeing the odd agent on a Sunday – some people lived for the job just as much as she did. But today, she seemed to be the only one in the building. Even Jethro was missing as she passed his desk in the squad room.
She made her way to her office, musing on whether she had stepped into an episode of the Twilight Zone. No one wanting her signature, no one demanding anything. Part of her enjoyed the peace and quiet, while another part thought it was too quiet.
Her office door loomed ahead, but she paused. She always locked her door and now it was open. Just a crack. Reaching for her gun just in case and determined to make Gibbs pay for this, she went through the door.
But it was not Gibbs on the other side.
The Goth stood by the desk, undaunted at the sight of the redhead with a gun. She beamed, closing the desk drawer she had clearly been snooping through and tottering to the Director's side. Jenny barely had time to holster her weapon before she was hugged and the life was squeezed out of her.
She didn't mind Abby's hugs – if pressed, she would admit she was secretly rather fond of them. The Goth had a way of making everyone feel loved and cared for, something few people showed the Director nowadays. Occasionally the younger woman misread the situation, but the vast majority of the time she was their Gothic angel.
"What are you doing here, Abby?" Jenny asked, decidedly curious. It was a Sunday, Gibbs obviously had no case, Abby definitely had a life outside the Navy Yard… she had no need to be in.
"To wish you a happy Mother's Day!" Abby beamed as though it was completely obvious. "I have a present for you.
Jenny spotted the wrapped gift on the edge of her desk and sincerely hoped it involved chocolate. "But I'm not a mother," she pointed out.
"You are to me," Abby replied happily. "And the team."
The confusion must have shown on Jenny's face as Abby launched into an explanation.
"Gibbs is the father of the team – he bosses them around, they long for his approval, he adores them…"
Jenny was still thoroughly confused.
Abby sighed. "Think of us all as one big family. Isn't Tony the eldest child, full of trouble and teasing his younger siblings, desperate for Gibbs' affection?"
This time Jenny nodded, smiling to herself.
"And Ziva teases Tony and fights him for Gibbs' attention. McGee's the younger son, putting up with Tony but also able to stand up for himself."
"So what does that make you?" Jenny teased. "And me?"
"I'm the youngest, the favorite," Abby giggled. "Gibbs lets me get away with far more than the others and he fusses over me whenever something goes wrong."
Jenny quietly remembered the whole stalker debacle and agreed.
"If Gibbs is Daddy, that makes you Mommy," Abby concluded. "You both love each other, even if you fight. We all care about you and you care about us. You watch over us, admittedly from the catwalk but it still counts."
Jenny smiled, agreeing and understanding. Abby gave her another hug to complete the moment.
"Anyway," Abby added. "You could be a mother for real this time next year if Daddy obliges!"