Lost the bet

"This means war Leroy Jethro Gibbs!"

"You lost the war Jen when you decided to bring my team into yet another personal battle."

Leroy Jethro Gibbs storms out of the room wondering how to get the director to stop trying to drag his team into personal vendettas when it hits him…a sly smile crosses the ruggedly handsome face and he darts down the stairs to the one person who might be willing to help him in this battle of wills.

It's a long shot, but Gibbs is willing to take the chance that Ducky will be up for the challenge. Now to see if his gut is telling the truth…

Jenny Shepherd has attempted to bully or coerce Timothy McGee into one of her plans for vengeance against the drug lords that are still a part of La Grenouille's organization. Only that particular young man has seen enough of her shenanigans when she'd fooled Tony into a deep cover operation; into getting close to La Grenouille's daughter.

When the director had approached him next she'd raised Tim's suspicions. Tim asks for a few minutes to decide and upon leaving her office hit his speed dial for Gibbs. Upon hearing what the younger man has to say, Gibbs storms immediately into the director's office and confronts her.

A yelling match ensues and none of the agents in the bullpen below really want to know what's being said so they all busy themselves with cold cases until Gibbs exits. The three young agents exchange looks and Tim is starting to feel guilty until he sees the faint relief on Tony's face.

The strain of his relationship with Jeanne has been hard on Tony. Tim can see that the senior agent was worried about him having to go through something similar and sends a small smile towards him. He then sends Tony an instant message I wasn't going to let her treat me the same way she treated you. I respect you too much to let that happen again. That's why I brought Gibbs in.

Tony sighs as he sends back Yeah Gibbs was still in Mexico when she dragged me into her grand scheme.

Tim nods and types don't worry Tony, Gibbs will take her down. One way or another.

Gibbs races down the stairs and Ducky smiles when Gibbs enters the autopsy and with a motion of his head sends Jimmy upstairs. The smile fades when Gibbs relates his story.

The two men had been making plans to take Ducky's mother out for a Sunday stroll. Since Mrs. Mallard doted upon Matthew as she insisted on calling Gibbs, Ducky figures that all it would take is a certain phrasing and "Mother will be on her like green on grass Jethro."

Now they need a way to get Jen over to Mrs. Mallard's. Ducky suggests that he could offer her a game of checkers…or maybe a few hands of poker. Either way, Ducky will win and Jennifer Shepherd will end up coming with him as part of her losing the bet.

Jenny never suspects a thing. She gracefully accepts her losses and is preparing to leave autopsy when Ducky says, "Oh by the way my dear, I would like to collect on my winnings tomorrow. You don't mind spending an hour or two with my mother, do you?"

"No Ducky, I'm sure that your mother and I will get along just fine."

Ducky waits until she's gone and then gathers up his coat and hat. He meets Gibbs at a pre-arranged location, namely Gibbs back porch and the two continue conspiring for a few more hours while they eat their steaks and drink their brandies.

Sunday afternoon arrives and Jenny is surprised to see not just Ducky's mother but Gibbs there as well. Jenny shivers slightly as Gibbs' cold eyes briefly touch upon her, but she shrugs off the feeling of unease as easily as the light jacket that she'd put on when dressing earlier that day.

Mrs. Mallard comes into the hall and Jenny watches as Gibbs transforms from the iceman into the sexy agent she'd known years ago. He casually flirts with Mrs. Mallard who calls him Matthew and then Mrs. Mallard turns her gaze to Jenny.

Jenny's smile falters when she sees the frown on Mrs. Mallard's face. She'd temporarily forgotten that the older woman suffers from slight dementia and is getting ready to introduce herself when Gibbs whispers something in the older woman's ear.

Uh-oh…that's never good. And when Mrs. Mallard comes over, hissing and spitting and slaps Jenny's face she can't help but wonder just what Leroy Jethro Gibbs told her.

"You dirty little strumpet, coming here to steal my Matthew away. Now come along Matthew, we have a picnic to plan."

Jenny is confused. Strumpet? What the hell did Jethro tell Mrs. Mallard anyway?

Ducky comes outside just then with a picnic basket and a blanket. He offers Jenny his arm and walks with her over to the shady tree that Gibbs has led the older woman to. Mrs. Mallard is still hissing whenever she sees Jenny who is truly confused as to what is going on.

The two men straighten out the blanket and Ducky starts putting out the dishes. Jenny tries to help Mrs. Mallard but the older woman is having nothing to do with Jenny. Instead she turns to 'Matthew' who grins slightly as he helps her into a lawn chair that had been hiding behind the tree.

"Oh this is so much fun Donald. But did you really have to bring that woman with you? After all, Matthew and I don't need chaperoning at our ages."

"You must remember Mother; I told you that Jennifer lost a bet. As penance she's spending time with us today."

"Why you think that it's appropriate to bring that hussy into the presence of a lady…honestly Donald Mallard, I expected better of you." Off she goes again on the morals of the younger generation.

Then without warning the older woman turns to Jenny who backs away, not wanting to get hit again.

"You can't leave yet dear, we haven't eaten our dinner."

Jenny's confusion is almost complete by this time. From a hissing cold shoulder to a warm and friendly hostess, she honestly has no idea what to expect from the older woman next. Ducky says a quick prayer over their meal and soon they're all partaking of a cold chicken dinner with coleslaw and potato salad.

After the meal, Gibbs stretches out on the blanket, and closes his eyes. Mrs. Mallard relaxes into her chair and Ducky starts putting away the remains. Jenny helps him with the clean up wondering just what else might be going on. One thing is certain; Gibbs is plotting. But just where do Ducky and his mother fit in?

"Figure it out yet, Jen?"

The voice is almost caressing and she glances at her lead agent and former lover in confusion. His eyes are still closed and his posture still relaxed, but she knows from his tone that he's not nearly as relaxed as he's pretending to be. She glances up at Mrs. Mallard who's snoring as she dozes lightly in her chair. Ducky is leaning against the tree, his eyes are closed too.

Jenny closes her eyes as she tries to figure out just what today has been about. Sighing in frustration she rolls to her feet. It's been a full two hours; the time that she'd lost in her bet to Ducky. As she stands up Gibbs eyes snap open and he stares at her.

For the first time in years, she starts fidgeting with her fingers. The look in those eyes, it isn't one she's ever seen before. It's cold and angry…and aimed at her. What did she do? Aside from…losing a bet.

"You've lost more than a bet, Jen. It's up to you to figure out just what you've lost."

"This isn't about a bet Jethro. And it isn't about some made up battle either."

"Isn't it Jen? Hasn't it been a battle since you put Tony undercover? I could almost forgive you that one…Tony's been a cop, he's known what it's like…but then, you attempted to do the same thing to McGee…a probie agent. MY probie agent… That's when you lost and it's not just the battle, but the war…for my respect Jen."

He doesn't say anything more; just closes his eyes in dismissal. Looking around Jenny Shepherd heaves a sigh of frustration and leaves not seeing the two men whose eyes follow her out of the yard.

"Do you think she got the message Jethro?"

Gibbs heaves a deep sigh as he confesses, "I doubt it Duck. She's not the same woman she used to be. Definitely not the same agent she used to be. I'm just not sure I can trust her anymore. Especially not with my team, I'm sorry old friend; we shouldn't have treated your mother this way."

"Oh that's quite all right 'Matthew', it'll be a memory that she'll take with her when she eventually passes on…defending her man against that strumpet."

Gibbs chuckles at the deliberate wording…how anyone could get strumpet out of lost the bet is still beyond his comprehension. He helps Ducky to his feet and together they escort Mrs. Mallard inside where she chatters constantly and beams when 'Matthew' thanks her for protecting his honor.

Months later, when Victoria Mallard passes away in her sleep, she stops long enough to give 'Matthew' a kiss on the cheek for giving an old woman his time and attention. The kiss gives Gibbs his first real night of sleep in years and he smiles in his slumber as he dreams of Shannon and Kelly welcoming her into their midst.

End

Definitely not one of my better stories…just couldn't get it to come out the way I wanted it to…oh well…guess the generator doesn't work all the time …lol…

The prompts this time were Mrs. Mallard/Jenny Shepherd and lost the bet…of course my mind took it a whole other direction and had Mrs. Mallard calling Jenny a strumpet…dunno why…just did..