Hi! This is my first (posted) NCIS FF. It was purely a writing exercise to get out of a block. That being said, this is a completely unbeta-d 'free writing' piece (as McGee would say) and posted as I first wrote it. No back editing. So, it is a draft of sorts. If people like it, I might just clean it up and do something with it. Who knows?
I own nothing except my mistakes. If I owned Gibbs... well... I might tell you one day.
"You're weak Jethro." His head snapped up and he shot an ice-cold stare toward the red head standing in front of him. She stood with her arms folded across her chest, her brow cocked and a questioning look upon her face. She didn't bow out at his piercing stare, but rather looked him straight in the eye. She wasn't afraid of him. Once, perhaps she was intimidated, but that was when she was still a Probie. A lot of time had elapsed since then.
Jethro continued to look at the woman, but this time, with a hint of glazing across his eyes in reminiscence of their history. Most of the thoughts went back to Paris, just a reasonably short time after he had lost Shannon. He thought of their bodies entangling, but he never really saw her, he saw Shannon and kept comparing the two women. He remembered how Shannon's face had softer lines to some of Jen's more angular ones. He remembered how Jen's breasts were at least a handful larger than what Shannon's ever were, and when Jen screamed his name, it was Shannon's face he saw. He was sure Jen knew, he supposed that was why she left him in Paris all those years ago. It wasn't Jen that he wanted, it was a memory of another and Jen couldn't handle being second best. The man's eyes flickered back to the present and again met Jen's questioning, yet unimpressed stare. "I don't know what you're talking about, Jen," he stated simply, but guarded. He was curious as to where she was going with this.
"You know damn well what I mean Jethro. Don't get all elusive with me again Jethro. I know. You have this whole façade of a strong leader – your work is good, the best, and I don't doubt that. You're a damn good agent, but I can't be sure that you're a damn good man. That bastard front you put up. Yeah, you're a good actor, but it's a half-assed act, and you know it. You may be a bastard on the outside, but whenever the going gets tough for you, whenever something about you is put in the spotlight…you run. You're evasive, but you don't run away from everyone else, you run away from the truth and you run away from yourself. You don't fight for yourself. You'll fight for everyone else, except for yourself. And that, Jethro, is what makes you weak.
A fire bubbled up inside of the senior agent "how dare she judge my character like that. She has no right! He locked his jaw shut to stop himself from lashing out at her. His gaze became impossibly hard, but she still didn't shy way, she was waiting for a response.
"You know Jen," he started, "it takes one to know one. That's kind of hypocritical of you. Do you remember, merely months ago all that went down with The Frog? Yeah, every time someone went to dig, you ran and you shut them out. That's a double standard, so instead of judging my character Jen, why don't you look into the mirror and take a look at your own, huh?"
By the end of his rant, he was fuming, he looked pointedly at the NCIS Director and saw a momentary flash of shock and hurt flash across her eyes and in that same moment, in his peripheral vision, he saw something else. Nay, someone else. Standing just off to the side of Director Jennifer Shepard was none other than Shannon Gibbs, or perhaps better way to put his, the ghost of her. She was smiling at him sadly and Jethro exhaled in shock. His eyes widened in wonderment and disbelief, curious as to if it was really her. His mouth opened and closed as tried to find words to speak, but they choked him, the words wouldn't come.
"Hi Jethro," the figure began. Her sparkling blue eyes he swore he saw glistening as the image of a young teen Shannon stared at him, "She's right and you know it. You can't keep holding on to me. You can't let what happened to Kelly and I stop you from living your life. When we died Jethro, so did you. Not physically, but emotionally and all we want is to see you be YOU again. You were never weak though, you just need to live again. Jethro, please, just let go and live again. For me and for Kelly. It's time now."
Jethro stared dumbfounded, trying to find words to say to the quickly disappearing figure, but all that managed to come out were "I… I…Shan… please." Outside his focus, the Director looked behind her to see nothing there. Jethro though, still stared at the empty space where his first wife once stood. His eyes became glassy in a flash and he repeatedly called out to the space in a mangled whisper "Shan please….please comeback." It was then the Director realised that he had finally broken, all the pain he had bottled up for years came tumbling out. The director also knew then that right now was not the time to be his Boss, nor was it the time to be an old lover holding on to that shred of hope that it really was her that he saw on those cold nights in Paris, but it was the time when he needed a friend and a shoulder to cry on. She lurched forward just managing to support his weight as his legs collapsed underneath him. Slowly, she moved him over to the couch in the corner of her office and sat down as his tears and wrecked sobs stained her blouse. Here, now, Leroy Jethro Gibbs was as fragile as a young child and she rocked him, just like he was one. "It's okay Jethro." She whispered into his silver hair.
"I'm sorry... I'm sorry" He mumbled. Whether it was to her or the air he called 'Shan', she wasn't sure, but it didn't matter. He was hurt.
"Jethro, Jethro, you couldn't keep it up forever. This makes you more of a man than bottled up feelings ever could. And you're right, I was hypocritical. I… I am very much at fault here. I wouldn't open up with La Grenouille and I should have. You could have helped me. I'm sorry, Jethro, but right now, I'm going to help you. I'll help you heal.