The voices woke him up – adults, and muffled enough that he couldn't tell if they were arguing or just really excited. Unable to go back to sleep, and curious to know what was going on, Jethro rolled out of bed and walked to the bedroom door, putting his ear to it.
“Science, medicine, religion...rewrite everything!”
“We've been...Sure? The Shiva laser...years ago. Without...Control...”
One of the voices was his father, but putting his ear to the door wasn't helping him follow the conversation. His room had a second door that opened up into the bathroom, so he decided to go through that one and open that door instead of his bedroom one. If Pop asked, he was just getting a drink of water.
The bathroom door was thankfully ajar. Jethro cracked it open just a hair more and he was able to hear the conversation.
Below the mezzanine, Alan was trying to wrap his brain around what Flynn was saying. Someone who didn't know Flynn would have mistaken him for drunk or high, and with the things Alan was hearing, he wasn't entirely sure that was off the mark.
“Gibbs was right the entire time. The whole thing was right under our noses, and we just didn't see because it was too obvious.” Flynn was giddy.
“I don't know,” he admitted skeptically. “Even with the Master Control Program, we never worked out all the bugs in that project. I thought the whole thing was canceled when Gibbs passed away and Lora left for DC. You mean to tell me that -”
“Believe it, man. I have a couple more bugs to work out, and I don't want to spill a lot of the details, but I think I've cracked it.”
Alan got off the chair and gripped his friend's shoulders. “And I think you might be cracking up! Look at you – haven't shaved in days, probably haven't slept in that long, either. I don't even want to think about the last time you might have had a meal. You've worked yourself to the point of collapse between those ungrateful bastards in the boardroom and whatever you've been doing on the side. More times than I want to admit, I've had to watch you...” Alan's voice trailed off. “Please, Flynn. I can't keep watching you try to kill yourself like this.”
That seemed to bring Flynn down from his euphoria. Sighing, he put his own hands on Alan's shoulders. “I'm not trying to kill myself, Alan. I'll be okay. But thanks for worrying anyway.”
“I will hold you to that,” Alan said with a sigh, dropping his hands. “Remember that you have Sam to consider, all right?”
“He never leaves my mind, but...” Flynn stepped back and began to rifle through his pockets, pulling out a brand-new pager and tossing it over. Alan barely caught it. “Okay. I run my final tests and I'll give you a page. Sleep with that thing if you have to.”
As Alan looked up to catch the pager, he saw Jethro on the steps. “Jethro, what are you doing out of bed?”
“You guys woke me up,” Jethro said. “Hi, Uncle Kevin.”
Flynn grinned. “Hey, Jet. C'mon down. At least give me a hug before you trot off to bed.”
Jethro almost took the stairs two at a time to come down and give Flynn an enthusiastic hug. “Can I come too?”
“Come where, Jet?”
“I wanna see it too, the stuff you're working on.”
Alan chuckled. “Jethro, I'm sure you don't want to sit through one of our board meetings.”
“Not that, the other stuff. Can I see it?”
“Only if your dad comes along with you, okay? Now, get your butt back to bed.”
Jethro looked very reluctant to be sent out of the conversation, but acquiesced, stopping to give his father a hug as well before walking back up the stairs. Flynn watched until the bedroom door closed.
“I swear, the kid reminds me more of Lora the older he gets.”
“And here I thought it was just me,” Alan said. “But please – whatever it is, it can wait until morning. Go home, Flynn. Spend some time with Sam, make sure to get some rest and a meal that isn't out of a Styrofoam box.”
“I'll take you up on that, actually. And remember to keep that pager on you, buddy. Because when it's ready, you'll be the first to know.”
Alan watched his friend leave, hop on his motorcycle, and drive off into the night. It would be the last time either he or Jet saw him alive.