“Patient and stubborn. It’s what snipers are. It’s what we respond to.” Gibbs, S13E18
Jack had grown tired of the game. She knew Gibbs would object to that description. She could practically hear his growl - I don’t play games - but that’s exactly what this charade has turned into.
Two years of tiptoeing around each other, two years of half-flirts, almost kisses, boundary breeches and shared secrets, and she was beyond exhausted. Her hopes had been up, down, and every which way except fulfilled, and it was time to take a stand.
Or, more accurately, a sit. On Gibbs’ couch. Indefinitely.
Jacqueline Sloane may not actively profile her friends but her subconscious does it almost on autopilot. She had always questioned her friends motives, trying to get inside their head, figure out why they acted the way they did, good or bad. It’s in her nature.
Analyzing Gibbs is a part of her. If there were anyone in her life she should scrutinize, it was him.
A sniper. Born patient and above all stubborn as hell. That much anyone can glean from Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs within minutes of meeting the man - he could out-stubborn a mule.
But stubbornness leads easily into habit, and Gibbs was a man of it. His ‘rules’ were infamous, a personal code of conduct that him and those who worked for and around him needed to know - rule that could be bent and not broken.
But things were starting to change, which is what Jack wasn’t sure of yet. Which is why she thought this was the time to create her own sniper’s nest - much more comfortable and surrounded by blankets and coffee and plenty of paperwork, her target in a direct line of sight. As soon as he got home, anyway.
She’d had only been around two years, but she’s gleaned bits and pieces of a history, all tumultuous and awful and amazing, from those who had been around much longer. McGee, in particular, was wonderfully honest and open to her probing. She’s worked to gain his trust, the trust of the whole team, and it showed with what they chose to tell her. She was a part of the family now, too.
So, she knew a lot. Jack knew Gibbs had only been speaking with Grace for a few years. That he spent years and years punishing himself for the death of those he most loved. That he’s lost more people that anyone should be able to survive. She knows he’d made terrorists tremble and grown men cry. That Gibbs has more enemies than the damn President, and that he’s come out the other side of more than a handful of medical miracles.
Jack knows that he loves with fire and shows only ice. She knows that he’s thawed in recent years, become a little more open if only for the benefit of his team, his best friends. Jack could write a book on Gibbs and Fornell, on he and his chosen family of coworkers and sawdust and bourbon. He’s the ultimate father figure, the protector, the avenger - he takes in strays and helps them find a home. Lives rest upon his shoulders, and he never forgets those he’s lost. And it weighs on him visibly.
Jack knows Gibbs is reliable and loyal to a fault, and that it takes a lot to break him down. If it’s something he’s deemed important, then it’s even harder to get him to budge. He’s a boulder, an immovable force. It’s a glorious trait to lean on, but a frustrating one to push at. But now, with all that had happened, it felt like a point of convergence. A crack in the armor. A rare chance, if she let herself be fanciful, fate itself.
She had to be patient. That was something that didn’t come naturally to Jack. Stubbornness ran in her blood as much as it did in Gibbs’, but patience had to be worked at.
Jack had prepared for weeks, working against her own stubbornness. If something was going to change, she had to be the one to do it - she had to make this first move or nothing would ever change. So, she packed a bag. A big bag. An army issued duffle, a backpack, and a garment bag for her work clothes. She had everything from magazines to case files for entertainment, snacks and an extra pillow for comfort.
Jack’s big plan, the one she was currently panicking slightly over since it was already in motion and she could hear Gibbs pull his truck up outside, right next to her car, and, really, there was no hiding how she’d practically moved in to his home unannounced so it was past trying to back out, her big plan was to simply wait him out in the most obvious, annoying, stubborn way possible until he finally broke and either kissed her or killed her.
Internally she took bets, weighed her chances, wondered if she’d finally gone insane.
Behind her she heard the door open, heard Gibbs exhale, heard him approach and silently take in the scene her things and her self made in his living room.
In the second she forced herself to be still, grating against her natural urge to turn to him, she hoped to hell that she’d made the right choice.
Finally looking, meeting the sharp blue eyes filled with not a little bit of confusion but also warmth and pleasure in seeing her, Jack let herself smile.