A/N: Here's another chapter! I hope you like it and review please! Maybe some suggestions?


Chapter 8

She was so tired. She felt like she hadn't slept for months when her eyes flew open. It was still dark out and she groaned as her phone kept up its persistent ringing. Finally she rolled over and picked it up knowing that nobody would call her this early from her home phone unless it was an emergency. "Hello?" she grunted sleepily into the phone.

"Director, um…am I interrupting?" The voice on the other end asked hesitantly and she realized it was Tim. Sighing she rolled onto her back and brushed her hair out of her eyes.

"This better be damn important agent McGee." She sighed almost falling back asleep.

"Well um there's just a little snag in the case." He said and she raised her eyebrows in surprised. So the bastard wasn't man enough to call her himself? She knew it was him instructing McGee to call because who else knew her home phone besides Gibbs?

"What?" She growled sitting up and he sighed.

"It's about your family Director. The Shepard family seems to be involved in the Barrinelli case." He said and she sat there in shock for a moment before her directorial instincts took over.

"How?" She grunted getting out of bed, suddenly not so tired anymore.

"We don't know for sure yet, we're still working on it but we'll keep you updated." He said and Jenny knew he was uncomfortable being assigned this task so she cut him some slack.

"Okay." She sighed surprising herself by not blowing up. "I want a phone call at 0800 agent McGee and you better have some damn answers!" She exclaimed angrily before hanging up. She cupped her face in her hands and fell back down on the bed with a groan. However she hadn't realized how loud she had been on the phone until she heard a creak outside her door. She opened the door and low and behold there stood Lily looking extremely sheepish but not at all regretful.

"What's going on?" She asked hesitantly, looking into the room to see if there was maybe another person in there. Jenny sighed.

"Nothing sweetheart, go back to bed, I'll get you up in the morning." Jenny said clearly exasperated. But Lily surprised Jenny by refusing.

"No I think I'm going to stay up. I've been up most of the night anyway finishing my report." She said and Jenny furrowed her brow.

"You finished your report already?!" Lily nodded like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

"Yeah well I couldn't sleep and I had nothing better to do." She admitted and after a quiet moment she spoke again. "You do realize that it's two in the morning? What is McGee doing up so early?" She asked and not wanting to answer that question Jenny threw it back in her face.

"What are you doing up so early? I mean your report couldn't have waited until morning?" She snapped a little harsher than she intended. Furrowing her brow, Lily retreated a few steps. She vaguely, if at all, remembered what her aunt was like when she was five so this was like her first impression of the red head. Realizing this too, Jenny regretted her words as soon as they left her mouth. Seeing the shocked and slightly frightened look on her nieces face she sighed and opened her arms, beckoning Lily closer. And going against her better judgment she broke one of Gibbs's cardinal rules. "I'm sorry Lily. I didn't mean it. Come here." She said softly, hesitantly the girl walked over but she relaxed when Jenny hugged her. Sighing, Jenny rubbed Lily's back soothingly.

"What were you talking about—on the phone?" She asked quietly. Jenny shook her head.

"We'll talk in the morning. I'm too tired to process anything right now." She admitted, slowly letting Lily go as she chuckled.

"Yeah me too. So I guess I'll see you in the morning then." Lily stated and Jenny nodded. As she backed out of the room Lily smiled. "Night Aunt Jenny." Jenny's lips pulled up into the beginnings of a smile.

"Goodnight sweetheart." Sighing Jenny listened as she heard Lily's door close and then slowly crawled back into bed but knew that she wasn't going to sleep. Her brain was on overdrive right now. She kept thinking about which family members could possibly be involved in something as bad as the Barrinelli case. She couldn't come up with anyone. Sighing she tossed and turned for a good two hours before giving up on sleep and getting up. Wrapping herself in her robe she padded downstairs straight to the coffee machine. Just as the machine had finished brewing her coffee she heard a noise behind her and whipped around. It was Lily. Sighing in relief she smiled. "Couldn't sleep either?" She asked and Lily nodded. Sighing, they both grabbed a mug of coffee and sat down at the kitchen table. Seeing the question in Lily's eyes she just told her and got it over with. "You remember the case the MCRT was working on, the Barrinelli case?" She asked and Lily nodded. "Well agent McGee called a few hours ago to say that the Shepard's were involved somehow. He didn't know exactly which…" She shook her head. "It just frustrated me beyond words. If they want to accuse the Shepard's of anything they better have damn good proof." She spat through gritted teeth. Smirking, Lily took a sip of her coffee.

"Are you sure they actually had something? Or was it just speculation?" She asked and Jenny shrugged.

"I didn't stay on the phone long enough to ask. But he's calling back at eight so we have some time." She said glancing out the window where it was just starting to become light outside. Everything was shiny with dew and had taken on a grayish hue in the morning light.

. . .

After what seemed like an eternity eight o'clock rolled around and just like clockwork, McGee called back. Jenny waited a few seconds before answering the phone. She didn't want him to think that she had been sitting in her kitchen waiting for the phone to ring—even though she had. Lily was at her side before she could blink. "Update McGee." Jenny demanded.

"It's agent DiNozzo ma'am." Tony responded and Jenny sighed.

"That doesn't change anything. Update?" She demanded in a frustrated tone.

"Well we still don't have any names but we decrypted a message from Barrinelli addressed to a "Shepard". Throughout the message Barrinelli mentioned two women, both just referred to by a letter: J and H." He said and Jenny furrowed her brow. The first two names that came to mind were her…and her sister Heather. Though she was still bitter towards her sister she would never wish any danger on her which prompted what she said next.

"I want protection detail for Heather Shepard, DiNozzo. And I want a video conference with Gibbs at 0900 sharp." She growled and Tony grunted in understanding, probably writing down the name. Lily furrowed her brow and tried to listen in. The mention of her mother put her on edge—especially in this context.

"Anything else Director?" He asked and she nodded, ignoring Lily and thankful that he didn't ask who Heather Shepard is.

"What did the message say?" She asked almost hesitantly.

"It talked about how the women were still part of the plan and that he hadn't finished with the "Shepard" referred to in the message." He supplied and Jenny swallowed but nodded.

"Thank you DiNozzo." She said before hanging up as Lily attacked her with questions.