Memories: Of Mom

"Laurie, could you do me a huge favor?" Jackson Gibbs is almost quivering with excitement and Laurie Fields, soon to be Jack's daughter-in-law can't help smiling at him.

"Can you teleport me back to Stillwater for the afternoon? I want to find some photographs for Leroy."

Laurie nods, knowing what is prompting this trip down memory lane. She'd mentioned to Jet (Gibbs) that the best way to start healing his heart was to start telling stories about his loved ones. She'd listened through their mental bond, as he'd told Jack about the three times Kelly had said she loved him. Jack had offered to find more photographs and Jet had taken him up on the offer.

"Do you want me to stay there or would you like some time alone?"

"You can stay with me; I'd like you to meet Leroy's mama."

They spend most of the afternoon in Jack's basement; the old man crowing with delight whenever he finds a particular photograph. They finish their treasure hunting and Laurie takes them back to Jet's house. Once inside, Jack starts placing the pictures in piles while Laurie fixes a simple supper of burgers and fries.

Jet arrives home and places a kiss on Laurie's lips before turning his attention to the photos on the table. "Gee Dad, clean out the basement did ya?"

"That's enough Leroy. We can look through these for the ones you want to keep after we eat supper."

The meal is spent with Jack watching Leroy and Laurie as they feed each other; it's not just food but laughter that the couple is sharing and Jack smiles at the walls he sees crumbling around his son's heart.

After supper the two men make quick work of the dishes while Laurie carefully moves the photographs into the den. Jack settles into his favorite recliner and smiles when his kitten Fleck climbs up into his lap. He pets the kitten and watches Laurie as she separates out three photos from the others.

She hands them to Jack and he smiles at her choices. He nods in agreement and wonders if his son will join them and tell them stories about the photos.

Leroy lights a small fire in the fireplace before sitting down next to Laurie on the couch. That's another improvement as far as Jack is concerned. None of the other women in Leroy's life would sit next to the boy for any length of time. The three exceptions had been Amelia, Shannon and Kelly.

Samson, father to the kitten in Jack's lap is waiting for the humans to settle before he jumps up and lies down in Leroy's lap. Obsidian, the other kitten is curled up on the back of the couch and Laurie hands Leroy the first photo.

It's a black and white with Amelia holding Leroy. The boy is roughly three or four years old and holding on to a rock.

"I remember it, vaguely. We'd been to the rock mine and mom was looking for a particular shade of amethyst. I found that one and she let me keep it. I offered it to her but she said 'Leroy, I love you, but you need to keep that for the woman that you marry.'"

Jack looks at the rock in the picture and smiles. The rings these two are going to be exchanging are made from a thin line of gold in that rock; it's going to be a part of their wedding bands now.

Laurie gives Leroy a kiss as she hands him a new photo. This time Amelia and Leroy are in color and they're standing next to a prize cup with a soap box derby car in the background. Jack can't contain the grin when he sees that particular photo.

"Mom helped me make the car and Dad gave us all the supplies we needed from the store. After I won, I took the trophy to mom and asked her to display it on the mantle. She disagreed saying 'Leroy I love you but your dad helped us with that win and that trophy deserves a place of honor in the store.' It's still there to this day…sitting on top of the perishables cooler."

"Now it is not! It's in the display case with all your other awards." Jack's indignation is met with a sly grin from his son who'd purposely worded his last sentence so that he'd get a rise out of his dad.

Laurie hand him the last photograph and this time Leroy is silent for several minutes. Jack briefly wonders what the problem is when he looks at the photo. Jack silently slaps himself on the head for not warning Laurie to leave that photo in the box. Then again, knowing the young woman and her good intentions, she probably planned it this way.

"It was the last time she said Leroy I love you. She and I went to church that morning listening to Pastor Bishop, don't look at me in that tone of voice that was his name. We came home had lunch and the next thing I know we're heading for the hospital."

Jack speaks up, "Amelia had had some testing done earlier that week. We found out that she had some malignant tumors. We were going to talk to the doctor about treatments when she doubled over."

"She died that afternoon. With the exception of the time I was married to Shannon, I haven't stepped foot in a church since then."

Laurie nods and lays her head on his shoulder. For now, it's enough that he's opening up to her about his past. She knows that the hardest time is still ahead of her; when he finally tells her about Shannon.

A/N: Yes there will be a Memories of Shannon story too ^_^