She was not having a good day, hell, if this was how it was going to be she wasn’t going to have a good year, or even a good life.
Jenny was sitting in an apartment in Paris of all places, trying to figure out just how she was going to get out of this one. NCIS had given her a week off and the keys to some accomodation for before she started her new role in the Middle East.
She was livid with a side of prickly numbness, a nasty sensation that trickled from her scalp down the back of her neck that felt like nothing and everything at the same time.
If there was a time in her life when it was least convenient for her to get pregnant, it was now.
It was too bad she’d just spent half a year in Europe sleeping with her partner as they conducted covert ops, the two completely unrelated and yet very much entwined.
They’d been reasonably careful, though reasonably apparently wasn’t careful enough, and the statistics of doing something a lot meant they were definitely not on her side.
Her side, their side, a side.
She brushed angry tears from her face. She didn’t know why she was still sitting here thinking about it, she could easily just terminate and move on without ever uttering a word, but something was stopping her.
Even now he was important. Even though he wasn’t here, even though he had no idea this was happening, even though she left him, she could still see his penetratingly blue stare. The bastard had scoffed at her with a John Wayne style ‘that’ll be the day’ when she’d told him she loved him. There had been no reason to stay, and she certainly hadn’t done it again.
She stood up abruptly, moving violently towards the apartment’s tiny kitchen, her movements purposeful and a little jagged on the edges. Where the hell was her cellphone.
She’d left him swiftly and after careful calculation leaving minimal mess for her, or so she thought, but her heart still ached with longing to go back.
Something about carrying a little part of him with her was appealing, which both irked and disturbed her.
Who was she, and what had she done with who she’d convinced herself she was, and just how did one go about crawling back in a situation like this anyway?
“Hey, by the way, I know I left without saying goodbye, yeah, that’s because I didn’t really want to put my career first but did it anyway, well, I’m back because we need to have ‘the talk’.”
Her eyes scanned the kitchen counter, not locating the stupid thing.
Leaving her coat and a note had and disappearing into the night had minimised the collateral, for her anyway. All things considered she’d thought she’d got out of that one quite well...until a few days later.
She’d been late before. Hell, with the heady cocktail of contraceptive pills and high stress situations, it was almost a given, but it hadn’t occurred to her until a few more days later that this “late” felt different somehow, fuller somehow. What did that even mean?
So she’d taken a test, and mumbled a string of expletives that had worked all the way up to a snarled “fuck” as it had given her the answer she’d been afraid of.
There was nothing positive about this.
She refused to accept her place on the fast track was over, she refused to believe anything had to change, but at the same time, her already flimsy resolve to run headlong into pressurised career advancement had suffered a serious blow.
She sighed loudly with an irritation reserved only for herself. This was far too human, way too pedestrian. All this desperately trying to be as cold as she needed to be to get the job done, and now this. If she hadn’t been so fucking stupid.
If the universe was trying to tell her something, she wasn’t a fan.
She stalked back to the living area and threw aside a newspaper and some magazines, uncovering her phone on the coffee table where it had been the entire time. She had a Director to call and a flight to book.
She could probably just call Gibbs, it would figure that Gibbs had probably gone back to using the same number as he’d had before Europe, but she was going to need some serious in person diplomacy skills for this one.
To say she felt worse for wear when she arrived at the Navy Yard was an understatement. Her flight had been long, uneventful, teary, and blandly awful. The girly tape in her Walkman he’d teased her about on the flight over had made her cry on the way home. Honestly, who’s bright idea had it been to bring a Celine Dion album anyway?
She did not want to talk about love, her heart would probably go on, she was going to have to tell him at some point, and she definitely hated and loved him.
She was just grateful she hadn’t started feeling sick yet, if that was something that was going to happen, but she was so damn tired. There was a bone deep weariness in her that she usually had to try a lot harder to achieve.
Jenny brushed her no doubt dirty looking bangs to the side, gear still on her back and decided she’d kill for a shower right about now.
She snorted softly, causing a nearby agent to look at her. Maybe sleeping with Gibbs counted as needing decontamination.
She flashed her badge at security, as they waved her through. The normality of it all clashing with how alien she felt. The ops they’d been on alone were enough to cause this sensation, but this new...development... only heightened it.
Her senses were on high alert as she walked into the bullpen, her eyes scanning for a particular greying head she didn’t find. Her eyes instead fell on Pacci, and she flashed him a tense smile at Pacci who smiled a friendly but confused one in return because she wasn’t supposed to be here. Her eyes then fell on her old desk, where a tall, young, brown haired man she didn’t recognise was now lounging, his feet up on the desk and his thoughts clearly somewhere else.
She approached silently, enjoying the element of surprise. “You don’t want to let Gibbs catch you doing that,” she said silkily once she was close enough to shock.
The man all but fell off his chair in surprise, recovering himself quickly. “And who, may I ask, are you?”
“You can ask but I’m not telling you. I need to speak to Gibbs, agent…” she let the sentence trail off in a way that all but demanded he fill in that blank.
“DiNozzo,” he said, looking mildly perturbed at the information that he’d just volunteered.
“DiNozzo,” she said with more than a hint of patronisation.
“Right, and when he asks who’s asking what should I tell…him?”
He trailed off at the steely eyed glare she was giving him, one of her brows quirking upward. in irritation as his eyes met hers.
“Right. I’ll go get him.” He said, hurriedly as he rose from his chair, tripping over his wastepaper basket as he left. He stopped, turning back to her as a thought occurred to him. “Hey, you’re not his ex-wife are you?”
If Jenny’s eyes had been formidable before, they were now downright deadly. “No, Agent Dinozzo, I’m not,” she said, her voice low and threatening.
“Okay then.” Tony, said, pointing at her in a feigned casual gesture as he scuttled away, torn between staying longer to gather intelligence, and running away from the very scary but also very beautiful lady.
He’d just rounded the corner into the interrogation corridor when he ran headlong into ducky Ducky.
“Sorry, Anthony, I didn’t see you there.”
“Hey Ducky, you might know something about this: there’s a redhead out there asking for Gibbs who wouldn’t tell me her name. I asked her if she was his ex-wife, but she didn’t seem to like that much.”
Ducky paused as he put the two and two of timing and probability together, his brow furrowing in concern. “Ah. I do wonder if you’ve just met Jennifer.”
“So who’s she then: ex-girlfriend, ex-fiance? To be honest she seemed pretty pissed off.”
Ducky paused, seeming to weigh up how much to tell the young agent. “She was his partner.”
“And now I’m his partner. So what do I tell Gibbs?
Ducky shrugged. “Tell him whatever she told you to tell him.Trust me, you’ll do well to stay out of this one.”
“Gibbs!” Tony shouted as the man in question came out of the observation room.
Gibbs paused, turning to look at Tony inquiringly. “What?”
“There’s a lady down in the squad room, says she needs to talk to you.”
Gibbs rolled his eyes. “Did you ask for her name?”
“Yeah, she declined.”
“Well what does she look like, DiNozzo?” Gibbs asked, what was left of his patience evaporating fast.
“About 5 foot 7 inches, maybe 5 foot 8, long red hair tied back in a ponytail, really pretty--”
Tony stopped short when Gibbs swore under his breath. It had to be Jenny.
“What was that, Boss?” DiNozzo said, clearly amused to have hit a nerve.
If Gibbs hasn’t been in such a hurry he would have smacked him, but instead he stormed off in the direction of the bullpen. Jenny wasn’t the kind to come slinking back, so there had to be something he didn’t know, and the kind of thing he might not know that would make her come all the way back here was something he was pretty sure he didn’t want to know.
Sure enough, as he rounded the corner to the bullpen, there she was, looking about as uncomfortable as she should given the circumstances. He noted that she didn’t look any happier when she noticed him coming.
He walked until he stood in front of her, waiting for her to speak, taking in her dishevelled, long-haul flight induced appearance and the presence of same backpack she’d carried around Europe. Something was urgent, then. He figured there was one of two things coming, and one was ridiculous and right out of a trashy romance novel, the other was terrifying.
Jenny didn’t bother with a greeting. “We need to talk.”
“Do we, Jen?”
She seemed almost embarrassed, or even ashamed, which was unlike her. He also noticed her eyeballing DiNozzo, who’d followed him back from interrogation.
Gibbs took one look at the younger agent and turned back to Jenny. “Conference room,” he said, nodding his head towards the elevator.
He was all too aware that DiNozzo was lapping this up, and wouldn’t put it past him to have his ear pressed against the elevator door within seconds. He made a mental note to make sure they were well and truly in between floors.
Without a word she hoisted her pack roughly onto her back and strode towards the closed metal doors, with Gibbs hot on her tail.
Ducky, who’d been watching the whole exchange from a safe distance, entered the bullpen as they left.
Tony watched the elevator doors slide shut before turning his attention to Ducky. “When you said ‘partners’ you meant work partners, right? Because that looked more like the sexual kind to me.”
Ducky didn't respond, he simply looked at Tony grimly, letting the younger man figure it out.
“Oh ho, you meant both kinds of partner! Who knew Gibbs was such a silver fox--”
“I’d advise you not to let Gibbs hear you talking like that.”
Tony winced. “He's behind me, isn't he.”
“Not this time.”
“You know, I think I'll sit down here at my desk and do some paperwork.”
“A wise choice, Anthony. If you need me, I'll be down in the morgue.”