Where The Truth Lies
Summary: A cold case throws Jenny Shepard, a young Metro PD agent into Gibbs' path. But her connection to the victim is complicated, and so is her personal life – and Gibbs can't afford to get involved, regardless of how he feels. AU. Jibbs.
Author Note: Um, you may recognise this story. It used to be known as 'Vantage Point', but I took the story down, since I'd lost a lot of the motivation and ideas I'd first had when I first started writing it. However, I soon realised the problem; I felt Jenny was out of character, and so ... this is now an AU story. The case is also loosely taken from the episode 'Stalker' of Cold Case.
Jenny Shepard pushed open the heavy wooden door, whilst simultaneously flicking through her mail. There wasn't much of interest; a few bills, a letter from her estranged sister, a take-out menu, and a flyer for the local yard sale that the Henderson's held every year. She had no idea how one single family could harbour so much junk, and still afford to give away so much every year, but their lawn was always littered with things they didn't want any longer.
Her phone rang shrilly, interrupting the mail-flicking, and she dumped the letters onto the coffee table, digging into the pocket of her running trousers for her cellphone.
"Shepard," she announced, not bothering to even glance at caller ID. She didn't make a habit of just handing out her telephone number to anyone. It was really just the department.
"Reason you're not in the office?" came the voice of her partner, Agent Jake Bradford. She rolled her eyes, and pulled her hair from it's ponytail, already beginning the slope of the stairs, intent on a long, hot shower.
"It's my day off, Butch," she reminded him. 'Butch' was everyone's name for him. Probably because he looked like he pumped iron every morning, and he had this glare that made everyone cower. Except for her, because she'd once mentioned it made him look constipated, and now he resolutely refused to use it on her whatsoever. Not that she was complaining. Despite everything, he had a good heart, and she trusted him wholly.
"You're on the rota, Shep. You sure you handed in the holiday form?" She cleared her throat, and stepped into her bathroom, turning on the water to let it run hot. Opening the airing cupboard and locating a towel, and then hunting around for her favourite shampoo and body wash. She waited him out, sure he'd come to the conclusion he had to – and wasn't disappointed. "Captain demand you take the day...?" his voice had lowered, and she suspected he wasn't alone. Silently, she thanked his discretion.
"Yeah ... he did. I'll be back in tomorrow."
"I doubt it ..." he returned, almost too quickly. She scowled absent-mindedly at her own reflection. "Don't sulk, Shep. It's just that ... I have it under good authority that that cold case you investigated a few months back? Got new evidence."
That caught her attention.
The case had been the first cold case she'd ever come across, and had hit her harder than she'd expected it to. She'd never really managed to get over the fact that they hadn't been able to solve it – even with NCIS' help.
"I'll be there in an hour," she told him, before hanging up.
But not quick enough to miss his snort of laughter on the other end.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs squinted into the screen of his phone, tilting his head to the side, and then resolutely smacking it off the table. The sharp noise made both Ziva and McGee snap their heads up to watch him in his pursuit of killing the ridiculous piece of technology. Tony, however, was fast asleep on his desk – and it was only his lack of movement that alerted Gibbs of that fact. He stood up and walked over to his senior agent, ignoring the smirks from the other two members of his team.
"TONY!" he bellowed, and he swore that Tony actually jumped off the seat altogether.
"A little ..." he noticed the small movement of Gibbs' eyebrow. "No. I'm completely awake ... just need to ... get some coffee."
"Whilst you're at it ... you can get me some too," Gibbs told him, turning to walk back to his desk. The whole agency wasn't exactly rushed off it's feet, and in order to earn their paychecks, they'd turned to cold cases that hadn't been touched in over ten years. It was mostly due to advances in technology that would solve the cases nowadays – but that didn't make them exciting to trawl through.
"Agent Gibbs." Gibbs turned his head in the direction of the voice, surprised to find Director Morrow coming from the back elevator, into the bullpen. He was in the middle of buttoning his coat up over his suit, and his security personnel were following a little behind him, indicating that he was about to leave the building.
"Sir," he nodded, standing up to meet the older man.
"I got a call from Metro earlier this morning; a case that wasn't solved six-odd months ago. Family massacre. It was Pacci's case," he said, a little quieter. Gibbs swallowed the guilt that always followed the mention of Agent Chris Pacci, and focused on the fact that Morrow was sliding a manilla folder across the table towards him. "The only survivor – Ashley Robertson awoke from her coma last night. Need you to keep me informed on this one, Jethro. I'm going to be out of town for the next few days, but when I get back, I expect a full analysis of the situation, and an update on her condition." He paused to let the information sink in, turned around and told his security to wait by the elevator, and then turned back. "Handle this with kid gloves, Gibbs. I don't want to read about any of this in the newspapers tomorrow morning ... and don't alert Metro until you're one-hundred percent positive that there's a case to go on." He nodded to indicate he was finished, pulled his coat together and picked up his briefcase from where it sat by his feet, not waiting for Gibbs to respond before he made his way to the elevator.
Gibbs flicked open the manilla folder, noting the hospital where Ashley Robertson was, and then threw the file at Ziva. "Want you to pull up that case, Ziva. Want to know every detail of the investigation when I get back. McGee," he turned and picked up the device that had been causing so much trouble recently. Then, he threw it at the younger agent, along with the keys. "Meet me out front, and fix my phone."
The hospital was cold and impersonal and only served to remind him how much he hated hospitals. The whole place was always painted the one colour, and it was always dull. And whenever he'd been here, he'd been given bad news.
"The receptionist says that her ward is to the right, upstairs, take a left and then look for the large four painted on the wall." McGee approached, indicating down the corridor that the receptionist had referred to.
Several wrong turns, one argument, and one slightly-more-forceful-than-necessary headslap later and they reached the ward where they'd been told Ashley Robertson was resting.
Another woman was already at the receptionist desk, and Gibbs watched McGee lift a leaflet out of the stand on the desk, smirking when he read the title over the younger agent's shoulder; The effects of head trauma.
Almost automatically, McGee reached up and rubbed the back of his head.
"You don't understand. I was on her case before," the woman at the desk in front of them was demanding. She was wearing what looked like a running outfit, her red hair tied up in a sleek ponytail.
"We were alerted that NCIS were on their way ... not Metro PD. I'm sorry, but it's against policy to let you in to see her, unless you are a relative." The receptionist did look sincerely apologetic, but the other woman was having none of it. Which was when Gibbs decided to intervene.
"Excuse me, ma'am."
"You're with Metro?"
His question caused her to turn around and stare at him. She had the brightest set of green eyes he'd ever seen. He was almost transfixed. "Yes. Are you ... NCIS?" She said it almost hesitantly, like she was about to be told off. "I was expecting Pacci."
Gibbs didn't take his eyes off the woman as he snapped his fingers at McGee. "McGee! Go ahead. I'll be with you in a minute." He led the woman to a more secluded section, away from the receptionist, and the couple that had been waiting in line behind him. "Agent Chris Pacci died ... few weeks ago. What's your interest in this case?"
Those mesmerising green eyes closed for a second as she heard the news, and when she opened them again, she seemed much calmer and more restrained. She stepped backwards and reached for her badge. "Jenny Shepard, Metro PD. I was the investigating officer on the case – from Metro's side. I'm ... sorry to hear about Pacci. He was a good man – damn good agent." The guilt hit him again, but he blinked it away and nodded, accepting her condolences. "I heard that Ashley Robertson was awake again, wanted to check in on her, see if she was okay."
"No," she answered softly, her expression offended. "She woke up from a six month coma, probably has very little recollection of what happened, and you think I was gonna accuse her of killing her family?"
He shrugged, but already, he knew that she wasn't the heartless type. She was sincere, and she seemed to feel passionately about her job.
"So ... are we working on this case together? I have all the old notes, can tell you everything without you having to read through all the paperwork, and I can tell you anything that doesn't add up with the original investigation."
Gibbs looked past her to the cubicle in which he'd seen McGee disappear into, and then to the reception desk, before shrugging his shoulders.
She had a point; she would be a very valuable resource to the investigation. But he disliked joint operations, and he wasn't entirely sure he could trust the fact that she obviously was connected in some way to their victim. Plus, Director Morrow had specifically told him not to alert Metro until they had something concrete to work on.
"Fine. You're in," he concluded.
He'd never really been one for listening to authority anyways.
Author Note: I hope this works out. I hope this is at least piquing your interest in some way, and wanting you to read a little further in. :)