When Jenny and Gibbs returned to the room they found the whole team sat on or around Penny's bed, eating burgers and fries from McDonalds. For the first time in days they all seemed happy and contented. On the other hand, although she looked to be enjoying being with the team, Penny looked miserable as she drank this weird energy milkshake stuff given to her by the hospital, given that that was all she was allowed after her operation.
'So apparently the FBI has a suspect.' Tony said through a mouthful for his cheese burger.
'Oh really? Who?' Jenny asked as Gibbs pushed her in amongst the team.
'Some guy named Terence McKenzie; but I haven't heard much more than that.' He replied, taking another bite of his food.
'Deputy Director Vance says he's going to be taking over NCIS for a while.' McGee said with distain.
'Yeah I guess he will be.' Jenny replied, that was something she hadn't given much thought to.
'Oh and the FBI have taken over all of our cases until we can get a temporary NCIS unit organised.' Tony added.
'Guys I just wanted to say well done for the way you've handled things over the last few days. I know that it's been hard with everything, but we've pulled through, as a team and as individuals.' Gibbs said to his team.
'And as the old saying goes, what doesn't kill you will make you stronger.' Tony said, resulting in several slaps to the back of the head from Abby, Ziva and Gibbs.
Whilst Tony was rubbing his head Sarah Shepard walked in.
'Oh, looks like it's a full house today.' She said as she kissed both Penny and Jenny on the cheeks.
'Mom I'd like to introduce you to team Gibbs. This is Ziva, Tony and Tim; then we've got our wonderful ME Ducky and the one and only Abby.' Penny said as she introduced the team she loved being part of.
'Well it's very nice to meet you all.' Sarah said as she greeted them.
They all talked for hours about the events of the last few days and even found themselves laughing.
'Hey Gibbs maybe we should change rule number twelve to always carry a roll of parcel tape?' Penny joked as she and Tony explained exactly what had happened when they had rescued Gibbs and Ziva.
Finally at about three o'clock one of the nurses came through and ordered all visitors out as visiting time came to an end. They all said goodbye regretfully, all having enjoyed their afternoon with each other.
Jenny rested back against the cool sheets of her hospital bed and let out a loud sigh.
'You alright?' Penny asked her with concern.
'Yeah I'm fine, I just want to get out of here and get home.' She said with frustration.
Although she was still rather sore she just wanted to get home to her own comforts, her own bed and to Gibbs, who could offer her more comfort and more care than any hospital staff.
Thankfully the next few days passed quickly, with both Penny and Jenny getting visitors every day. Jenny was now finding walking a little easier, although it still caused her some pain and discomfort. Penny was also recovering well after her surgery, although she did still suffer from headaches which made her ill, but the doctors had said that it was to be expected. Finally, almost two weeks after the explosion, the doctors said that they could both go home.
Penny had never been happier to hear those words from anyone, and Jenny also felt relieved to be going home. Sarah and Gibbs had both come to pick them up; they too were very happy that they were being discharged at last.
Although their physical healing was well on its way, their emotional healing hadn't even begun, especially for Jenny and Gibbs. They'd had a lot to deal with over the last couple of weeks, and now the strength of their relationship was really going to be put to the test.
Although she tried hard not to show it, the miscarriage had hit Jenny hard and there were days when the thought of what she could have had made her burst into tears. Gibbs would often say nothing but would hold her close until she'd gotten it out of her system. Their pain was getting easier, and with the excitement of their trip to Paris looming and unfulfilled promises in the air, it definitely made it easier.
'So how are you going to survive on your own for a week?' Jenny asked her daughter, a little concerned about leaving her on her own as Sarah was going to be going home at the end of the week.
'It's alright I've already thought about that.' Penny replied as she sat on the leather armchair in the living room, and watched as Gibbs helped lower Jenny onto the sofa. 'The week that you guys are away Abby's apartment building is being fumigated so I said that she could stay here, that way killing two birds with one stone. There's absolutely nothing to worry about, the only thing I ask is that you both have fun.'
Jenny smiled as she relaxed back into the sofa, glad to be home and able to rest properly. Gibbs sat himself next to her and rested his arm around her shoulders, her head placed neatly into the nook of his neck.
'I can't wait to get a way for a while, I can't remember the last time I had a holiday away.' Jenny said as she glanced up at Gibbs, who lightly kissed her forehead.
Just as the three of them were getting settled Sarah appeared with a tray with tea, coffee and biscuits. She carefully handed the mugs round to everyone and then sat herself on the smaller sofa at the other end on the living room, facing Penny.
They switched the TV on for a little while just as the news was on. In the background of the news report they could see the burnt out wreck of the NCIS headquarters, and they were all astounded by the devastation. None of them had seen the aftermath of the explosion, and none of them could believe that the building now shown on the screen was the place they once loved to work in.
"Following the explosion at NCIS headquarters almost two weeks ago, the FBI has confirmed that an arrest has been made and he is now being formally charged. Terence McKenzie aged twenty-seven was arrested last week following an investigation, and the FBI has now charged him with the murder of three people, and acts of terrorism." The news reporter said as images of McKenzie appeared on the screen.
As the report ended and a new one began, Gibbs pressed the mute button and allowed the information to sink in.
'Well, at least we made the news for a change.' Penny said with a half-smile.
'Yeah we did, shame it wasn't under better circumstances though.' Gibbs replied.
'I wonder why he did it?' Penny asked as she felt a little bit of hatred towards the man who had thrown all their lives into turmoil and jeopardy.
As if on cue the doorbell rang and Sarah got up to answer it, returning moments later with Fornell.
'I hear that you've just seen the news.' He said as he entered the living room.
'Yeah we've heard Tobias. Well done on the arrest; good to see the FBI doing a little work for a change.' Gibbs replied with a smirk.
'Do you know why he did it?' Penny asked quietly.
Fornell nodded his head and smiled weakly at her, before carefully replying.
'His father was a marine who had gotten in with a bad crowed and owed a lot of money to a lot of people; he died about ten years ago and it was ruled as suicide by NCIS, but he insists that his father was murdered. He has protested for years to have the case re-opened, but each time it has been refused. So because he deemed his life blown apart by NCIS, he decided to do the same to you.' Tobias explained.
'Oh for the love of…' Penny began to say before stopping, trying to think of a replacement word since she hated blasphemy. '…jellyfish.' She said finally.
None of them could believe that one person had done all of this in the name of revenge.
'I hear SecNav forced you to take a couple of months off.' Fornell stated as he perched himself on the arm of Penny's chair.
'Yeah he has, which I can assure you is much appreciated.' Jenny replied as she squeezed Gibbs's hand.
'So what's going to happen to NCIS?' Penny asked with concern, unsure what the damage and arrangements meant.
'Well we now have porter-cabins in the naval yard, a cabin per team, and Leon Vance is overseeing the running of things. Work has already begun on clearly the debris from the site, and once that's been done building works will begin.' Tobias explained.
'Ooo great, and even smaller space to share with Tony, he'll be more intolerable than normal.' Penny said as she rolled her eyes jokingly. She loved Tony to pieces, like a big brother, and wouldn't hear a bad word said against him, but that didn't stop him from annoying her like an older brother.
'Well you won't have to worry about that any time soon Pen, because I'm making you take time off too. You need a few months off to recover from your surgery…and before you even try to object, this is an order from your director.' Jenny said, glad of the excuse to spend a few weeks with just Penny and Gibbs.
Once Tobias had left, Jenny and Gibbs had gone to lie down for a while, both desperate of sleep, and Sarah had gone to the shops leaving Penny to relax on her own for a little while. She turned the TV and was about to settle down to a film when the doorbell rang. She got up, cursing, and walked to the door, wrenching it open in annoyance until she saw McGee standing on the other side, a bag of fresh take out under his arm.
'Since we never did get that date I thought I'd bring it to you.' He said as he hopped passed Penny on his crutches.
Penny smiled at him contentedly as he went into the kitchen and dished out the contents of the plastic dishes. She watched him hobbling round and was impressed by how he'd mastered his crutches.
He handed her two plates of food and they went into the living room to sit and watch the film, both happy and contented with each other's company. It marked the end of a horrific couple of weeks, which they all knew would still take some time to come to terms with, but at least they had each other.
With that though Penny snuggled up close to McGee on the sofa and rested her head on his shoulder, just as the film began.
There we go folks, I hope you enjoyed that story; sorry if the ending isn't so great. I just wanted to say a massive thanks to Left my heart in Paris and to Itzcheeseball who have been my two constant reviewers, and to all those who have also read and reviewed this story. Please keep your eyes peeled for the next story, which I shall have up soon.