A/N: It's been a while since I wrote a longer Lily story, but the idea started in my head during a Starbucks session with my beta in which I suddenly came up with a... suitable way for Gibbs to meet Lily. Which needed a story written around it. No knowledge is required of any of the other Lily stories, but if you have read them, hopefully some moments will make you smile.
Rating may go up. I may need... advice first.
Meet the Family
Marseille in August was hotter than hell, Jennifer Shepard had decided. And that was not even considering the heatwave. The air was humid, sticky, suffocating – what she wouldn't give for air conditioning.
It had to be at least 100 degrees outside, with not a cloud in the sky and no rain for the past week. The sun beat down relentlessly, as though in battle with everything under it. The ground was parched, desperate for even a drop of water.
And somehow the attic was worse. Stale. It trapped the heat and refused to let it go. The only window did not open and even if it did, they couldn't touch it. Not without running the risk of alerting someone to their presence.
Jenny reached for her bottle of water, took a sip and forced herself to swallow it. Warm. Just like everything else. She sat at a table covered with equipment to photograph everyone boarding a Lebanese trawler. Wrong time of the day – not a soul moved in this heat.
It was only her second day in the attic, her third officially on assignment outside the United States. Part of her was thrilled at the opportunity available to her such a short time after she had joined NCIS. Another part was pissed that her sister, who had worked for the CIA for more than a few years, had not mentioned just how boring stakeouts could be.
And how ubiquitous they were.
Despite her momentary displeasure, she loved her job. Lily had accurately described the adrenalin rush of being out in the field, the gratifying feeling of wrapping a case up and the amount of caffeine needed to keep going throughout the day. The knowledge that she was making a difference in people's lives.
She hadn't intended on this job at all; she'd sort of fallen into it. Born from a desire to avenge their father and to provide the closure that she had never felt to others. Not to mention Lily's constant nagging that she needed to get out from behind a desk and do something with her life.
Yet she was nervous; the initial feeling that she had chalked up to starting a new job had not left. She was confident in her abilities, but she was not confident she wouldn't screw up. She needed time to become comfortable with the level of responsibility on her shoulders.
Her boss wasn't exactly helping. Gruff, experienced, capable of scaring a lot of people. Most of the time, she was able to shrug off his attitude. It helped that he seemed impressed she had the nerve to stand up to him, and it also helped that she was able to channel into Lily's knack of not giving a damn what anyone said about her. Not openly anyway.
And why oh why did he have to be so damn… handsome. Leroy Jethro Gibbs – a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. One minute barking orders and the next bantering with her. They'd flirted subtly (and a little less subtly since Diane had left the picture), pissed each other off a couple of times to the extent she had been sorely tempted to shoot him, and somehow struck up a friendship.
A silver-haired, blue eyed fox. Older, but that had never been an issue. Stubborn, prickly and yet with a warm heart. She'd long since lost track of the number of times she'd wanted nothing better than to jump him.
And now they were stuck together in a foreign country, relying on each other for support. She couldn't decide if this was a good thing or if it would destroy them completely.
Sighing, she glanced over her shoulder to confirm he hadn't snuck back in while she'd been musing. Still nothing to do. Knowing she probably shouldn't be doing this, she reached for her cell phone and dialed a familiar number.
"This had better be good."
She froze for a moment at her sister's voice. Quiet. Probably somewhere she wasn't supposed to be. Drawling. Not in immediate danger then and more bored than disturbed.
"I can hang up," Lily suggested.
"I'm on an unsecure line," Jenny answered, suddenly realizing this was not her best idea. Gibbs was going to kill her.
"I know where you are," Lily replied, sounding more amused now although her voice never rose. "Having problems with the heat?"
Jenny bit her lip, wishing she'd never mentioned Jethro within earshot of Lily while also aware she would have found out regardless. Her sister had informants everywhere and apparently NCIS was not off limits.
"Drink lots of water." Lily was definitely teasing her now. "Stay in the shade. I'd suggest not performing any strenuous activities but it might cool you down a bit."
"Shut up," Jenny demanded. "Do you have any Intel on…" She let her voice trail off, trying to get her message across without letting too much slip. She needed to get out of this attic and she had no qualms about going through her sister to get it.
"I'll have a look." Lily was back to sounding bored. "Just let me know if anything exciting happens."
The creak of a floorboard was her only warning. Jenny hung up without bothering to say goodbye and tried to hide the phone.
"What were you thinking, Shepard?" Gibbs barked into her ear, having somehow traversed the attic almost silently.
It didn't take much for both their tempers to snap.
Lily Thompson moved her neck from side to side to relieve tension. For too long had she been stuck in this airless attic, forced to remain as silent as possible to prevent discovery.
She had arrived in Marseille, France, less than twenty four hours previously. Her assignment: to kill a man who was presently on a Lebanese trawler. A certain Lebanese trawler currently under surveillance by a lesser armed federal agency. NCIS. Who had, luckily for her, decided to set up base in the most obvious place. While she had been checking the area was clear so she could make her move, she had wandered into the house next door, all the way up to the attic where she had discovered her rivals.
The heat of the day was finally beginning to fade away, although it would still be a few more hours until Lily would not be prepared to kill for a cold shower. She pushed herself up from the floor, reaching for her cold cup of coffee and downing it while she stretched out her muscles. Despite spending the majority of the last day curled up in a corner on the off-chance one of the NCIS agents thought to check whether the attics were adjoining or not, she had made sure to exercise regularly.
Now she was glad she had. The aches and kinks disappeared rapidly and she was ready to do her job. Do her job and fly home on the next red-eye to be with her husband before sunrise. Another grin crossed her face and she forced herself to get rid of it. She had to kill a man first.
Turning back to the wall she had been leaning against for the past few hours, she cocked her head to one side and listened dispassionately. Moans, groans, an incredibly noisy mattress. Round Three by the sound of it. Oh well, the two of them did have a lot of tension to work out, assuming Jenny had been holding back while discussing her new boss.
Making a mental note to run a full background check on one Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs and tease the living daylights out of her sister when they next ran into each other, Lily headed for the stairs. She had to get onto that trawler before the two agents went back to their job or she would be caught on camera.
And the sooner she could curl up in bed with her husband and forget about her job, the better.