Murder at Cheltenham by DD Agent
I do not own NCIS or any of its characters, or its settings - all belongs to the lovely folks at CBS
ITS THE LAST CHAPTER! : ( Very sad times. It has been a great few days with you all, so many alerts, favourites, reviews! I don't think I've ever had such a well recieved story, so thank you so much for this! As always, gold stars and chocolate bars to those who leave me such amazing reviews, I *love* to know how people like the story, and people's theories and happy parts. Makes all the editing worth it *giggles* So, thank you so much to MatteaAM, 1kiko, BabieLizzie, left my heart in Paris, She-Demon Sparacino, Mrs. Elizabeth Gibbs, xxhiphuggersxx, LilMissJenny, MTGZ, basket-case1880 and HuddyJibbsAddict.
Despite this being the last chapter of "Murder at Cheltenham", I have plenty more ideas for the '97 Series [and for NCIS in general. My spreadsheet is *huge*]. If you have any suggestions of things you want to see in the series, canon facts you want included, drop me a PM. If you want to prompt me somthing, or you have any suggestions [or requests for sequels] let me know! If you just want to talk fic or Jenny/Gibbs, go ahead!
You all are amazing, and I hope you enjoy chapter five! :D
He was furious with Shepard. He should have expected her to do something like that, she was still a probie after all, desperate to get the highest mark, to receive the highest honour. It was her damn red hair and pretty features that had thrown him. But she was nothing special, just another probie.
Gibbs had sent all of the students including Shepard back to the motel where he could keep an eye on them all. He sat down by the sun lounger where he and Shepard had eaten dinner, and tried to work through which one of them he would want as his partner. Shepard was a no go, even without the issue of his attraction to her; he didn't think he could ever fully trust her. Some of the others had been promising, but in the end he decided he would just let Morrow pick one of them and he'd have to break them in.
Feeling someone watching him, Gibbs looked up to see Shepard hanging off the railings. She had no room to go back to. Her boyfriend Chrysler was still unaccounted for, and although his gut didn't agree, he appeared to be the killer. That was the real reason why he had sent them to the motel instead of leaving them at the training centre - the promise of Shepard was enough to lure Chrysler back.
They held each other's gaze until his phone rang. It was Sam with the lab results. "Talk to me, Sam. What you got?"
"Too many cases and not enough coffee. But for you, I have a DNA match to the semen found in victim number one's bed."
He heard Sam chuckle over the phone. "Got it in one, Gibbs. Jack Chrysler had sex with her before she died. However, what is really interesting is that we found a set of fingerprints in both rooms that don't match Jack Chrysler."
Gibbs sat up, not expecting that. "Who did both the sets belong to?" Please not Shepard, please not Shepard.
"A Michael Stokes? The trainees have already had their fingerprints registered, and he matched some prints found in both rooms. He's also one of the DNA samples we tested, and we found a hair of his in victim number one's bed. I'd bet one of my kids he's your guy."
"Thank you Sam!"
Gibbs jumped up, noticing that Jenny had disappeared from the railings. He ran to the nearest student he could find, which happened to be Diana. He grabbed her by the wrist, cursing himself for missing the guy. He remembered his interview - nothing had jumped out at him. This guy was good, but not good enough.
"Michael Stokes - who the hell is he?"
Diana fumbled to explain, her teeth chewing her lip. "Mi-Michael Stokes is really good friends with Jack. They've known each other since College; Michael's always been really supportive of him. He was just in the car park I think."
Letting her go, Gibbs raced off to the car park out the back of the motel. That was when he saw a car peeling away, Jack Chrysler gagged in the back seat and the man he remembered as Michael Stokes in the front. Gibbs turned to his own car, and found the tires had been slashed. Michael had known that he wasn't a suspect and made provisions.
"DAMMIT!" Gibbs cursed, slamming his hands on the boot of his car.
Behind him he heard the jangle of keys. He turned and saw Shepard holding out a set of car keys, smiling weakly at him. "You can use my car. If I come, of course. This isn't for extra credit, just so you know; this is to catch a psychopath."
"Then move it already, Stokes is getting away!"
Jenny sprinted over to the Camaro in the corner of the car park. She tossed Gibbs the keys as he got in the driver's side and once the keys were in the ignition, he jammed on the accelerator. Jenny barely had any time to put her seatbelt on before they were flying out of the car park and after the car that held Stokes and Chrysler.
"This is a first generation Camaro, you know."
"I know. It's a nice car."
Jenny rolled her eyes, but still smirked. She decided to clear the air, even though she knew Gibbs would hate that. Any man who hated apologies would also hate long talks. "I can't believe its Michael. He was always too clingy to Jack, overprotective, you know? It would make sense that he'd want to frame me for Sarah's murder - that's what I discovered before he tried to strangle me."
Gibbs turned another corner in the Camaro, chasing after the two men in the other car. Jenny gripped on to anything she could, which at that moment happened to be Gibbs' hand. They both looked down before breaking apart.
"All makes perfect sense now, guy is good. He's obsessed with Jack, overhears Sarah telling him that she wants him to dump you for her. They get into an argument and Michael thinks he can kill two birds with one stone. Get rid of the annoying lover by framing the frigid girlfriend." Jenny glared at him. "Chrysler's words, not mine. Of course he didn't bank on Kirby, so he kills him to make sure Jack is in the clear, and to cover his own ass. Then, he goes after you as you're sleeping with a handsome Federal Agent, cheating on Jack."
Jenny laughed as he drove around another corner. "So which Federal Agent am I sleeping with then?" She nearly fell into him as he turned yet another corner. "It would explain how Jack assumed we were sleeping together - Michael must have been spying on me and saw me go into your room last night. He then told Jack to ruin our…well it was never really a relationship."
After another stretch of road, they managed to drive the car in front into a dead end. The car with Stokes and Chrysler in stopped, and Gibbs also stopped the Camaro. Jethro reached behind him and placed something in Jenny's lap. It was his back up weapon. He was wondering if he should, a probie as back up was not a good idea. But all she needed to do was point and look threatening.
"You need this; don't be afraid to use it. You good on the range? Everyone seems to think you're Super Girl."
Jenny looked down at the weapon. She could do this, she would be fine, she could overcome the one inch miss on the range. Gibbs needed her as back up; she needed to be there for him. "He tried to kill me, he killed Sarah. I can do this."
Both of them moved out of the car and towards the other vehicle, guns out in front. Michael moved out of the driver's side, and dragged out Chrysler before pointing a gun at his head. Gibbs gestured for Jenny to stay behind him; he was the Special Agent after all.
"Michael Stokes, you are under arrest for the murder of Sarah Dane and Kirby Staines," Gibbs stated, and Michael just nodded, smiling. He didn't seem too bothered with the possibility of a murder conviction.
"Well done Gibbs, I see your forensic techs are not as dumb as you are! Was a risk not wiping down the room but I didn't want Jack to come back and find me. We're very close you see, very close."
"And Kirby? Ran out of time then too?"
Michael pressed the gun harder into Chrysler's temple. "No, by then I just didn't give a fuck. Even gave up on the original plan, getting rid of that slut Shepard. You know, she used Jack like trash, used him to advance herself. He's going to be Director one day, aren't you Jack?" Michael squeezed Chrysler's shoulder. "I had no problems with it until a real life Federal Agent comes along and she opens her legs to you in less than twenty four fucking hours. Fucking slut - all pretty on the outside but a little bitch on the inside."
Gibbs raised his gun higher, protective over Jenny. What was she like around these guys anyway? She didn't fit in with them, she was better than what they stood for. Despite his anger earlier, she was in NCIS for a pure reason, to make a difference and to escape whatever was haunting those green orbs of hers. He knew what that was like, and knew what a difference she could make trying to run from that pain.
"Stokes, put down Chrysler and the gun, and then we can talk about things."
He heard something shake from behind him and saw that Jenny was trembling. Michael started to laugh, and Gibbs felt like breaking something. Never work with probies.
"I'm not too worried, Gibbs. Your back up is Shepard. I've seen her on the shooting range; she always gets the heart but never the head. Which is ironic, as she's all head and no heart. Got a little back heart, haven't you Shepard?"
Gibbs moved forward in front of Shepard, hoping she didn't shoot him in the back. He put his gun down on the floor as a sign of trust to Michael. "Okay, you don't have to worry about Shepard and I'm unarmed. How about you let Chrysler go now? You don't want to hurt him; you've been trying to protect him. So protect him, let him go."
The words seemed to get through to Stokes and he nodded slowly. Gibbs hoped to get through this whole thing without any blood being spilled, especially not the redhead's behind him. However, he should have known that someone like Stokes, so controlled and yet so insane, wouldn't go without a fight. Just as Michael let Chrysler drop to the floor, Stokes raised his gun and pointed it straight at Gibbs' head, his finger tugging the trigger.
A gunshot echoed in the alley, and Gibbs watched as a bullet ripped through Michael's head and pulled him down to the ground. He looked behind him and saw Shepard lower her gun. Her hands started shaking before they stopped and she held the gun firmly. She wasn't even a full NCIS Agent yet, and already she had made her first kill.
Gibbs touched her arm and she broke out of her reverie to look at him. His eyes were back to the warmth she had seen earlier. She looked back at Michael's broken body and pressed herself into Gibbs. They had found the man who had killed Sarah, she had had her justice.
"You okay?" She looked up at him, the bruises obvious around her neck.
"No." She hadn't even had time to think, just saw Stokes about to fire and took the shot. A part of her was glad the man was dead, and Gibbs was alive. But the idea that she had killed someone made her shiver. "No I'm not."
He watched her move back in the passenger seat of the car, his gun put on the dashboard. He called it in, leaving Chrysler on the floor where he belonged. He didn't deserve any special treatment, the woman in the car who had saved his life did. Turning back, their eyes met through the windshield, and the tear that dripped down her cheek touched her smile. They had caught the killer. It was all over now.
It had been a week since the case in Cheltenham. He'd been caught up in several terrorist operations since then, and it was only now that he had handed in his final report. All the students, apart from the two that had died, had graduated and were now official NCIS Agents. They'd hang around the Navy Yard for a while, until they were assigned their new positions.
"Special Agent Gibbs?"
Gibbs nodded at the Director's assistant as he kicked away from his desk and headed up the stairs. After Michael's body had been collected and Chrysler had been returned to the motel, Gibbs had dropped Shepard off in her Georgetown house. She needed to be alone, and while his offer of company had brought a smile, he knew she would say no. He still thought about her, thought about all that potential she had. Another part of him thought how pretty she was, but that pretty came at a price. She was damaged, that was for sure. But then, so was he.
"Special Agent Gibbs, sit down."
Gibbs took a seat in front of Morrow, who had a copy of his report. He flicked through the pages before turning to him. "Good job, Agent Gibbs. Although you disregarded my request to work with the new agents instead of treating them like suspects, you managed to catch the man who did it, and there wasn't any press about it. Of course, there is something missing from your report."
"Who I want as my partner."
"Yes, indeed." Morrow flicked through the file again. "You had some incredibly complimentary things to say about Jennifer Shepard."
"She's quite amazing, Director," Gibbs smiled, thinking about the drive to Georgetown. He expected her to break down after her first kill, but she just seemed satisfied. Justice had been done. "I see big things in her future."
Morrow nodded. "Quite. She speaks excellent French and Italian. There are plans to send her to the Naples outpost; it's a good start for her rather than working in DC." He smiled and passed Gibbs along another file. "Agent Robert Hawthorne, you interviewed him?"
Gibbs remembered him briefly. He had complimentary things to say about everyone, had gone along with everything without protest. But he was just a faceless agent. Jethro jerked his head up when he realised Morrow was still speaking. "…fantastic agent, very highly commended. I'm sure you'll work well together."
He nodded, taking the file, but knowing he wouldn't need it. The Director escorted him out of his office, where Gibbs looked out onto the bullpen and grinned. Morrow was about to enter MTAC when Gibbs decided to seek a little payback for the FLETC case, good working relationship be damned. The Special Agent grinned as he called out to the Director.
"I actually have picked my new partner, Director. Called them up, offered them the job. They accepted. Hope you don't mind, sir, but I prefer to pick my own partners. Someone who I definitely know has my back."
He gave the Director the file back. Gibbs smiled down into the bullpen, and Morrow moved from MTAC to look downwards, where Jenny Shepard was examining Gibbs' glass of water with coins resting inside it. She gave a one handed wave to the two men looking at her.
Morrow turned to Gibbs, not impressed. There were several high ranking members of the Navy who wanted Jasper Shepard's daughter in positions other than working crimes in DC. She was too good for that. "What part of Naples did you not understand Agent Gibbs?"
"All of it, Director. All of it."
She had never been in the NCIS headquarters at the Navy Yard before. After some directions, she hit the main floor where all the agents were. The walls were bright, but she liked that. Sometimes her house seemed too dark. She couldn't spot Gibbs, but she knew he was around somewhere.
"Yeah. Gibbs? Everything okay?"
Everyone looked at her as she entered the floor, and Jenny felt a little self conscious as she walked to see if someone could tell her where Gibbs was. She'd worn heels instead of the flats she had worn during most of her time at FLETC. The bruises around her neck were fading a little, but she still felt a little sore. Maybe once she caught sight of Gibbs, she'd feel better.
"Everything's fine, Shepard. Congratulations on graduating. You been offered any positions yet?"
"One of the trainers was talking about it, but no one has called me up. Why?"
"Want a job?"
Graduating to become a full NCIS agent had been good, but more a means to an end. She had almost expected Gibbs to attend her graduation, but that was just wishful thinking. However, after sitting at her kitchen table, trying a glass of bourbon, her phone had rung. It had been Gibbs, and for one moment Jenny had hoped he had called her up to ask for a date. She liked him, and would be quite happy to go down that route. But the idea of working with him, that was something she wanted even more.
Finally she saw Gibbs come out of the top of the catwalk with a man she knew to be the NCIS Director. They were talking until they eventually saw her. She waved at them, wondering what they could be talking about. After accepting Gibbs' offer, she had received a couple of other calls from team leaders. But there was no one she wanted to work with more than Gibbs. With him, she didn't feel alone anymore.
"Hey yourself." He had come down from talking to the Director, and was looking over her with a smile. It was good to see her looking so happy, and seeing her in the bullpen made him realise he couldn't have made a better decision.
"Are you sure you want to do this? I mean, I only worked with you to get a higher grade," Jenny teased, but Gibbs shook his head.
"Shepard, you saved my life. I need my partner to have my back, and you do." He smirked, and Jenny realised he was going to say something truly complimentary. "There is no one I want as my partner right now more than you."
Jenny beamed. "Does this mean I have to learn your rules?"
Gibbs chuckled before moving his hand behind Jenny's head to slap her. She slapped him on the shoulder back, but her smile was still wide. "Of course it does, Shepard. You're still a probie, and you'll do as I say, a concept no doubt you'll have trouble with. I've got fifty rules you have to learn."
"Fifty? The Bible only had ten."
She moved out of the way of another head slap, enjoying herself. "The most important one for you, Shepard, is rule thirty four: "Don't climb trees"."
Jenny giggled and she watched as Gibbs joined in. She could see the Director watching them, interested, from above. "That's not one of your rules."
"It's a special one I added just for you." Gibbs pointed to the desk next to his own. "That's your desk, Shepard. And, I do believe, this is yours as well." He shoved something in her hands. It was her FLETC t-shirt that he had borrowed.
Jenny grinned. "Thank you. I actually had to make do and buy proper pyjamas to sleep in." Gibbs raised an eyebrow and was about to respond, but before they could continue their flirting; the phone on Gibbs' desk rang. She moved out of the way so he could answer it.
"Okay, we'll be there." He turned to Shepard, smiling. "Grab your gear; you got your first official crime scene. I see you up a tree; I'll send you back to FLETC."
Jenny nodded and was double checking she had everything, including her newly given service weapon, when she realised Gibbs was halfway to the elevator with a cup of coffee. She chased after him, managing to slip in before the doors closed but colliding with Gibbs. Thankfully his coffee was well out of reach.
Both of them grimaced. "Rule Twenty Three, Shepard. Never mess with a marine's coffee if you want to live."
"Is it too late to say yes to Naples?"
The palm of his hand connected with the back of her head again, but despite Jenny's physical protest at the action, both of them were smiling. Even though Jenny didn't want to be corny and say it was the start of a beautiful friendship, she knew that she would never ask for a better partner than Leroy Jethro Gibbs. As his hand rested lightly on her shoulder, she knew he felt the same.