So...yeah. I went to write a oneshot- a sweet, smutty oneshot. And then a certain writer *cough*Alexa*cough* made me feel all angsty.
Needless to say, it ended up taking a life of its own. There's a feeling of AU going around, I forewarn. Just a hint. Like a hint of lime in a beer. Tread carefully- angst dead ahead. Reviews make me all smiley and tingly inside. Not Beta'd, folks. Disclaimed; like I disclaim my horrible math grade. B. Really?
(Spoilers for: Seasons three, four, and five.)
Leroy Jethro Gibbs has thought himself a man of infalliable observance.
He notices everything. The twitch in the suspect's thumb when he's nervous. A flag flowing almost imperceptibly in the background, signaling wind. When eyes are upon him, his gut screams. When something does not add up, it moans and groans and cries out-
Because he also considers himself a man who can fix everything.
Unnerving, it is, if a boat is not smooth in texture. Nights he will spend, deftly sanding and gratifying the wooden surface. Call it a sense of sheer arrogance that drives him to declare a case unfinished until the person reponsible is not only caught, but notably accused, complete with evidence clear enough to insure notable punishment.
At the end of the day, though, it will just be one person accused.
There will always be more to follow, the day after that, and the day after that. When you cut off a monster's head, it will grow another; therein lies the man's first vital mistake:
'Fixing' things are meant for pieces, when there are pieces left to put together. After some time you must understand things happen because they happen. If something is not immediately 'broken', there is nothing to be 'fixed'.
He tried to fix her.
It was long ago; when her hair was long and shiny and her eyes a brighter shade of emerald. His hair was still grey, he was still a chauvanist.
But they were different people, in a sense of gravity and of time. In a sense of love, of common peace.
It was in the days that the Eiffel Tower's lights twinkled and Positano's beaches carressed that he made the utterly uncalled for, indecent demand- however stupidly silent.
Secrets. He wanted them from her,when he would not give them up himself.
(Because it is well known by now he had a few of his own, too.)
(Well, a few, if you consider a wife and a daughter and their murders to count as one.)
Jethro never said the words out loud, no. It was within the brushes of skin, the well placed strokes of flesh on flesh and breast upon breast. The mind numbing sensations made her eyes water and her lips loose.
And that, in itself, was dangerous territory to toy with.
Jethro demanded, and he lost.
He lost her, and he lost everything that was important for a sliver of a moment.
It killed him. And then some. And he could not take it.
He tossed and turned beside his boat for weeks, waking and reaching for a warm body that was not there.
The misery was tangible, in his disheveled hair and his wild eyes. Ducky demanded the explantion, the one that would flay him and tear him and work him over until things weren't sensible. Not that they ever made sense in the first place.
'She left,' he had slurred, drunk off of want and longing and agony. Maybe a little more than a little alcohol, too.
Ducky suggested he move on. Meet someone knew. Said he had a friend, a redhead, that wanted someone to venture into the world with. Jethro readily agreed.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how one Stephanie Flynn took residence in the life of the silver haired fox.
He'd put a rock on her finger before they'd even hit the six month mark.
Moscow is a hard place to live- with anybody.
(Jen always said it best. She could write a damn good letter, too.)
Memories still haunted. Sometimes, he'd wake in the middle of the night, just like before.
He'd reach for a warm body, find one. Jethro would close his eyes, rumble a sigh, and pretend it was her.
Steph kissed him slowly, drawing out the emotion in an almost taunting way. Or maybe it was just weary.
He never quite figured that one out.
Jenny was all teeth, lips, tongue. No decency. No hesitation. Clashing together in violent motions, rolling between the sheets like animals. That's how he prefered to remember her.
Because thinking of how they'd made love and delved into one another with blatant abondon was not something you think about when kissing your wife on a lazy Sunday.
Steph was enough. Steph was easy. Steph loved him. And even though most would consider it unlikely for Jethro Gibbs to be insecure, he was. Jenny did that to him.
Stephanie did not realize she was opening a can of worms that most wouldn't even dare to ponder of. "I'm pregnant, Jethro."
And that was the moment his relationship with Stephanie Flynn went to hell, even though his grin was splitting and his eyes were misty. His gut was acting up. The words made his mouth go dry, for obvious reasons.
But he really didn't want to think about that, because right then and there nothing was broken, so there was nothing to fix. Jethro knew to leave that one alone, at that point.
It was a Wednesday when she miscarried.
He clenched his jaw and dug his fingers into the bedsheets and bit his tongue.
Savored the taste of the blood. Stephanie hadn't come out of the bathroom since they'd come home from the hospital after a whole night of terror.
'Is the baby alive? Is he? Please, god..'
'I'm sorry, Mrs. Gibbs. There was not detection of a heartbeat..'
Kids must really not be in his future.
Even as his head spins, and his stomach aches, Gibbs doesn't cry. He just hunches over, his shoulders shaking and his thoat catching what might be sobs.
He'll never let 'em see the light of morning. Jethro hasn't cried since she left, and he doesn't plan to start now.
One morning, he wakes to find Stephanie gone. Her bags, her clothes, her languid kisses.
Disappeared. Women must really not be in his future, either.
When he sees Jenny Shepard again, it's not a major motion picture cliche.
No running into each other's arms. No sappy music playing in the background. MTAC had some loud speakers, so it might've been possible. All there was, though, was a lot of staring.
And a lot of walking down a memory lane nicknamed Paris.
It was harder than it should've been to meet her eyes. Harder than anything to smile and act like everything was fine, Kate wasn't dead, and she didn't have his heart splayed open with that one look. Yeah, it was hard.
The sight of those legs for days accentuated by a nice black pair of fuck-me-heels made him hard, too.
Jethro could merely close his eyes and remember them wrapped around his waist.
And then she opened her mouth to speak. That husky, alto voice floated through the air, settled upon his chest deeply. Made things feel right again.
He knew from that moment they were really screwed. He should fix it- walk away. But he really didn't want to.
No, Jenny Shepard walked back into his life, acted like she owned the place, and pulled up a chair that was higher than his because she could. There was nothing cliche about the damn cluster.
They start sleeping together again after her two month mark as Director. Sometimes, he'd whisper it mockingly, carelessly in her ear while he'd drag his long fingers up her thigh and over-sensitized every nerve ending she knew existed.
It started with a fight, like it had in the beggining-beginning. He drove her to the edge, so close to pushing her over that her palms were sweating, her throat hurting from the angry shouting, and agents cringing downstairs with expectations of murder.
And then the heat changed. Specialized. Imploded.
He had her on her back, on her desk, before she'd even blinked.
Lips upon lips, breast upon breast, bodies moving in an exotic dance and really screwing things up more than anything should be.
Their fluids gushed when he left her and her head swam and she was so high of the feeling she thought she'd never come down.
He took her to bed in his home that night, the following night in her's. Things were tangled up beyond reconcile.
And neither really cared all that much.
It didn't end with a fight, like in Paris. She'd thought it would. It had shocked her when it didn't-
But, no. Ending in something more fucked up than was ever imagined in her pretty little red head-
it ended with a bomb exploding, a terrorist, and fifteen years of unfathomable loss.
Things started going numb for her, then.
He was gone. It hurt. More than was acceptable. More than was bearable.
Jeanne Benoit, her face so youthful, so innocent, so perfect- oh, and just like her father's- made Jenny see red and black and blood and her father's brain matter splattered upon the walls. Jenny envied the girl.
She knew immediately what she needed to do. So, with great ease, ease which only came from having done it before-
and that was something she never talked about anymore (the subject unbearable)
- she closed off her emotions from the public eye. Put on that damn good poker face she knew she'd always had. Cut the feelings with a sharp, sharp knife, and began doing things people only dreamt about in nightmares.
She became a villian, for a little while.
Other than The Frog, the hatred, Jenny didn't notice much else.
Jenny didn't notice Jethro waltz back into the building and look around with an expression that asked, 'What the hell is going on?'
She didn't have time for it anymore.
Jennifer Shepard caught wiff of Hollis Mann, and her outlook changed just a bit. She was still determined, just...distracted.
The looks Jethro gave the woman made her stomach tighten as if she might vomit, made her bite her lip and clear her throat and look away. After a while, she started just not leaving the top floor of NCIS.
That way, if her ex-lover and his blond friend decided to make a quaint appearance, it would be on her ground, by her terms.
She handled the conversations they had flawlessly, the steely glint in her eye a fair warning to the other woman that she was not to be messed with.
When the gunshot rings out, and the arms dealer is tossed over the side of the peer, and her vision clears, Jenny is dealt a firm set of cards.
Her poker face clatters to the ground. Her hands start shaking and her knees start doing it too. She can't-
she should've- why would he-
She doesn't cry, but her eyes do start twitching and leaking some type of clear liquid when she gets home that night.
Strange, it is. Jenny tugs down her dutiful bottle of bourbon and starts drinking.
And drinking. And drinking. She doesn't get shamelessly drunk.
Yet, somehow, she ended up on Jethro's doorstep that night. She slurred her words and said things they both knew would be embarrasing as hell in the morning. His lips are a faint ghost upon her own, and it takes waking up in her own study, wearing clothes, to realize the edges of reality have blurred.
She needs some help.
Jenny Shepard doesn't regret, but there is a feeling in her core, a tightening in her eyes, that would needlessly prove otherwise.
Regret is bittersweet upon her tongue.
He will not meet her eyes. She misses it. The blue, holding gaze, that fills silences, that speaks volumes.
When they eventually do meet, his mistrust is palpable.
She understands (or at least she tries really hard to), and needily begs for forgiveness. Rule Eighteen is her favorite.
Sorry is not an option. He notices the change in her. Gives it a slight second glance, pauses.
Takes a deep breath.
His sigh of relief is entirely unnoticable to ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the population. The evidence he misses her is irrefutable, though. Just last night he'd awoken from a nightmare and reached for a warm body (and Hollis had been gone for weeks).
Leroy Jethro Gibbs needs to fix it. He knows he does.
This time there is no second chance.
It starts with a fight most of the time, but Jenny doesn't want it to anymore. Fights are ominous.
She cannot take anymore heartbreak, and she's sure Jethro can't either.
The kid made memories swirl and bubble and made dreams of the past inevitable. Carson was sweet. A miniature DiNozzo.
If they'd had a child in Paris, he or she would be about Carson's age. The thought is not one-sided. They share looks, throughout the day. They can feel the tectonic plates shifting beneath them. They're due for another quake.
She starts playing the game.
"Once upon a time, I would've asked you to stay, and I wouldn't have taken no for an answer."
He doesn't say no.
He watches her bare back as sunlight begins to form a warm beam through the slightly parted royal purple curtains.
Tension had seeped from his veins long hours ago, her breath is steady as she sleeps on. He knows they need to rise, preferably before Carson. But he can't help it if he wants it to last a little bit longer.
The heart wants what it wants.
He lays a kiss at her temple, snaking his hand up her torso to her breast, cupping it in his palm lazily. She moans as she's roused from her dream state. Soft eyelids compleminted by a thick frame of dark lashes flutter open. Lazy emerald. Mussed hair, the color of wine.
Jenny reaches up and lays her hand atop his, moaning again, louder. In a movement he was not expecting, she rolls to cover his naked body with her's, giggling softly at the look upon his face.
She kisses him. All tongue, teeth, lips. No decency.
She had no hesitation.
Jethro smiled against her mouth, and he felt good.
They weren't perfect, no one was. But somehow, something told him this might actually work.