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Code of Honor

Chapter Text

The whole team walked into the bullpen. Zach was sitting in Gibbs chair, playing the Nintendo DS. He looked up and saw their expressions and immediately panicked.

"Gibbs! Did you find my dad?" He stood up and put the DS on Gibbs' desk.

"Zach, with me," Gibbs said and the boy scrambled to keep up with him, because the man was already half-way up the stairs that led to the Director's office.

"We going to see Madame Director?" Gibbs smiled.

"Who taught you that?" he asked, despite the heavy news.

"Tony told me to call her that," Zach said. "Why?"

"Next time, slap him."

"Okay." The boy shrugged. They were now in the Director's waiting room. In Gibbs-fashion, Zach walked right past Cynthia and burst into Jenny's office.

"You can't go in there," echoed past the two men—well, more like one man and one boy—as they stood in Jenny's office.

"Jethro..." Jenny warned. She was sitting in her chair, looking out the window, her back turned to her desk and the three people standing in front of it.

"Wasn't me. It was Zach," Gibbs cut in.

"It wasn't me. It was Gibbs," Zach defended and Gibbs turned on him with a glare.

"Cynthia, we're okay." Cynthia went to exit and close the door. "Which one was it?"

"The little one, ma'am," were her final words, before the door closed. Jenny turned around to face the two people. Gibbs was smirking and Zach had a convincing smile.

"Okay, so it was me. Gibbs taught me," Zach said and pointed upward, in Gibbs direction. Gibbs smug expression remained in place. Jenny shook her head.

"Did you find my dad?" Zach asked, suddenly remembering. Both adults' faces faltered.

"Zach, I was wrong. Your dad is not guilty. We cleared him of all charges," Jenny said.

"So you found him? Where is he?!" He became a bit panicky again.

"Zach, we arrived too late. He died," Gibbs said softly, turning to the boy.

"No... no, no!" He turned to look at the Director, who nodded.

"No! He can't be dead! He's not dead! He can't be!" he yelled in the general direction of the Director, but then he turned to Gibbs, and in a small voice, "You promised me, Gibbs!" The boy was really freaking out, completely in denial.

"I'm sorry," Gibbs softly said. Jenny's gaze snapped to his, she had never heard him apologize before.

"I don't believe you!" Zach ran out of the office, down the stairs, only briefly stopping in the bull pen to have the three Field Agents gaze at him in sympathy.

"No!" He ran to the elevator that had just opened. He pushed past the exiting people and pressed the button to Abby's lab. He pulled the emergency switch and slid down against the back wall, only now letting the tears flow freely. After five minutes of crying, he decided to get out of the elevator, hating the way it made him feel a little claustrophobic. He pushed the emergency switch back in and the doors opened to Abby's lab. Abby was standing in front of the elevator, obviously waiting. When she saw the occupant, her face registered surprise. She then noticed his tear-strained face and got in. She pulled the emergency switch and turned to Zach. She sat down on the floor and patted next to her.

"Sit, Zach." The boy did as he was told. Abby put an arm around his little shoulders and pulled him to her.

"When I feel sad, I go to Bert." Zach looked up at her in question.

"Who's Bert?" Abby produced, from her other hand, the hippopotamus.

"This is Bert. He always makes me feel better." Abby handed Bert over to Zach who squeezed the hippo, which in turn made the hippo fart. This made Zach smile and a chuckle escaped.

"See, I told you," Abby said. Zach placed his head in her lap as a few tears escaped him. Abby miraculously stayed quiet long enough for the boy to fall asleep, and the hand stroking his hand certainly helped.

Careful not to wake Zach up, Abby pressed the emergency button back in and dialed Gibbs.

"Yeah Abs," Gibbs said when he picked up.

"I have Zach." The elevator doors opened on the catwalk leading to the Director's office.

"Where are you?"

"The elevator opened on the Director's floor."

"Almost there." Abby could already see Gibbs on the last part of the stairs, Jenny trailing him. With her foot, she kept the doors open.

"Hey Abs." Gibbs carefully lifted Zach off of Abby.

"Put him on the couch in my office," Jenny said and walked to her office, Gibbs not far behind.

"Thank you, Abby," Jenny said and Abby winked, the elevator doors already closing.

Zach lay asleep on the comfortable black leather couch in Jenny's office. Two adults stood over him, watching him sleep.

"I really feel bad for him," Jenny said. Gibbs merely nodded.

"I mean, first his mother, now his dad. It's harsh. And he's probably gonna be living in foster homes for the rest of his young life."

"Maybe not," Gibbs muttered. Jenny turned to him, surprised for the second time that day by his actions.

"Jethro, what are you..." she trailed off as he left her office. She sighed and went to sit at her desk to work, glancing at the boy every now and then.

Chapter Text

She had asked Cynthia to cancel her meetings for the rest of the day; her assistant didn't seem fazed, the walls weren't thin, but she saw the boy storm out of Jenny's office earlier. Also, when she went out for lunch, she brought back not just a sandwich for her boss, but for the kid as well.

Jenny had accepted the two sandwiches with a 'thank you' and a smile, making Cynthia feel good. She had had a feeling that if she hadn't brought lunch, Jenny would've completely forgotten all about it.

So later that day, Jenny was eating her tuna sandwich in her office, absentmindedly reading a file she had to sign off on, when Zach stirred from his position on the couch. Jenny quickly chewed the last of the food in her mouth and set the sandwich down, getting up and walking to the couch.

The boy was rubbing his eyes. He sat up and Jenny sat down next to him. The boy looked confused.

"Was it a dream?" Jenny sadly shook her head.

"No, Zach. I'm sorry, it wasn't." He looked down and bit his lip.

"I'm sorry for yelling at you earlier," Zach said, making Jenny smile slightly.

"It's okay." She gently stroked his back. Zach did something completely unexpected to her and shifted, dropping his head on her lap. She moved to stroke his head instead and the feeling was so natural it scared her.

"Is Gibbs mad?" She looked down at the boy. He had despair in his eyes.

"I don't know Zach."

"But Madame Director, I need to know if he's mad or upset." Jenny picked up on the name he called her.

"Did DiNozzo tell you to call me Madame Director?" Zach nodded, wide eyed.

"Why?" he squeaked.

"Call me Jenny," she said with a reassuring smile. "I don't know if he's mad, honestly."

"But you know everything!" Zach exclaimed.

"Who told you that?" she asked with a playful smile.

"Gibbs," Zach said pointedly, which made her smile wider.

"What else did he tell you?"

"Well, he told me you were very, very, very beautiful." This, in turn, made the boy blush.

"And that you were a really loveable person," Zach said and smiled at her bemused expression.

"Jenny?"

"Hmm?" she asked, shaken out of her reverie.

"Do you love Gibbs?" he bluntly asked. Her expression visibly changed to one he didn't know.

"I—it's complicated."

"But..." Zach said expectantly, but when Jenny didn't answer he let it drop.

"What's going to happen to me?" he asked in a small voice instead.

"You'll probably live in a foster home," Jenny said.

"So, Child Services?" Jenny nodded, making him sigh. The door burst open and Jethro appeared, Cynthia standing behind him.

"It's okay, Cynthia, thank you." The woman exited.

"I'm sorry Gibbs," Zach said and Gibbs squatted down in front of him.

"Don't apologize, it's a sign of weakness," Gibbs said. Jenny notices a stack of papers in his hand.

"Jethro? What are those?" she asked.

"The reason I came. Zach. Do you want to stay with me instead of Child Services?" Gibbs asked and Jenny looked shocked.

"Like, you adopt me?" Zach asked, still insecure, not wanting his hopes crushed.

"Yes." Zach lunged forward and hugged Gibbs in a way that rivaled Abby. Gibbs took the opportunity to look Jen in the eyes. She smiled at the happiness that shone out of his eyes.

"Hey, Zach, why don't you go down to Abby and give Bert back?" Gibbs suggested. The boy nodded vigorously and left the office.

Jenny got up and went to sit behind her desk. For the first time in... well, quite possibly a long time, Jethro sat down in one of the chairs in front of her desk.

"Really Jethro? Adoption?" Jen asked. Gibbs looked down and nodded.

"Yeah."

"Are you really up to that?" she asked sincerely.

"I think it'd be good for him and me," Gibbs said and Jenny chuckled.

"And the fact that you work a lot?"

"I'll cut back on my hours. If the Director cuts me some slack." He looked up and grinned at her, making her shake her head slowly in hopelessness.

"The Director already cuts you a lot of slack," Jenny said with a smile. "But, okay. If you really think it's a good idea, I'll support you."

"Child Services says that I still have to go through the normal process of adoption. They wanted to take him now and give him back when the process was over, but I debated a little and they decided he could stay a week, and then they would take him away, until the process thing is over. But I need you to do me a favor." Jenny quirked an eyebrow.

"What is it?" He stood up and prepared to leave. "Jethro..."

"Write a recommendation letter," Gibbs ordered and then walked out, making Jenny smile.

She knew the real reason he left. Not because he had anything to do, no, he just didn't want to see her amused expression.

"Cynthia, can you get me the number for Child Services?" Jenny asked, pressing the intercom button.

"Yes, ma'am."

"Thank you."


Gibbs and Zach were in the basement, sanding the boat side-by-side.

"Gibbs?" The man turned to Zach.

"Yeah."

"Do you love Jenny?" He asked the same question that he asked Jenny earlier that day.

"It's complicated," Gibbs answered.

"I don't get what is so complicated. Either you do, or you don't," Zach pointed out.

"We have a lot of history, Zach," Gibbs tried to explain.

"Exactly!" the boy exclaimed making Gibbs chuckle. The boy's stomach grumbled and only then did he become aware of his impending hunger.

"I'm hungry. I'm gonna go upstairs and search the fridge," Zach said and put the sanding block down. He walked up the stairs and Gibbs smiled to himself. He continued sanding the hull of the boat.

"GIBBS! THERE'S NOTHING IN HERE... OH, WAIT!" Zach yelled, but apparently he found something, judging by his quietness. Gibbs smiled again.

Jenny entered the house and took off her heels at the door. She heard Zach yelling and then he walked into the hall.

"Jenny," he sighed. "You brought food!"

"Of course." She bent over to kiss the top of his head. He guided her to the kitchen.

"What did you bring?" he asked, trying to peer into the two big brown bags she was holding.

"Groceries. I'm gonna cook you dinner," Jenny said and started taking the things out of the bag, occasionally moving to put something in the fridge or a cabinet.

"I think you're psychic," Zach commented.

"How so?"

"Well, there wasn't any food in the house and then poof you appear with food. Or, groceries and you're gonna make me food. Is Gibbs gonna get some, too?"

"Yes. Do you like pasta?" The boy smiled wide.

"I love pasta." Jenny started heating up water in a pan.

"Can I help?" Zach asked. Jenny smiled at him.

"Of course. When the water stars boiling I want you to put the spaghetti in the water, got it?" The boy nodded and focused on the pan of water.

"Are you allergic to anything, Zach?" Jenny asked as she took out the ingredients to start the sauce.

"Dustmites. And penicillin," he said casually.

"Any foods?"

"Nope." Zach hopped onto the counter and sat next to the stove, so he could talk to Jenny and look her in the eye at the same time.

"What's your favorite food?" Jenny asked, chopping up some vegetables.

"Pizza. And cheeseburgers. And I really like chicken. But white meat, not dark meat." He fake shuddered, making Jenny laugh.

"There's nothing wrong with dark meat, I like it more than white meat." He gaped at her.

"Really?" She merely nodded. "What are your favorite foods?"

"Cheeseburgers are delicious, though I haven't had one in a long time. I like spaghetti. And dark meat chicken," she threw in the last part for fun, with a smile.

"What's your favorite dessert?" Zach asked.

"Ice cream, cheesecake and chocolate fudge brownies. My favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate." She could see his mouth watering from where she stood.

"I like cheesecake too! And brownies. And ice cream, but I like the mix, the one with strawberry, vanilla and chocolate all mixed. And I like pistachio cake." Jenny smiled as she walked to the freezer and pulled out a carton of ice cream and showed it to him. Chocolate/Vanilla/Strawberry. He smiled.

"That is dessert." Jenny motioned her head at the pan, where the water was boiling. With the knife she was holding, she cut open the pack of spaghetti.

"Be careful, the water is hot," she said.

"Just pour them all in together?" Zach asked.

"Yes," she said and nodded. He carefully tilted the plastic bag so all the spaghetti would fall in the pan and not splash any of the water.

"Very good," she praised him.

"Really?" he asked and she nodded smiling. He seemed really excited. He hopped off the counter.

"I'm gonna go tell Gibbs!" he said and almost made it out of the kitchen.

"No, no!" Jenny held him by his waist, keeping him from running out.

"Why not?"

"Don't let him know I'm here yet, later." The boy shrugged. "Alright. I'm almost done here, you can go watch TV or play your DS if you want."

"Ok." He walked out of the kitchen and went into the living room, and turned on the TV.

After about half an hour, Jenny walked into the living room.

"Dinner's ready, Zach," she said and the boy turned off the TV, walking behind her into the kitchen. On the four-persons-dining table stood a pan with the spaghetti and another one with the sauce.

She handed him a plate. He stood on his knees on a chair to reach properly. He took the plate from Jenny and scooped up some spaghetti and then covering it completely with sauce.

"Parmesan cheese?" Jenny offered, and soon, Zach's food was covered by a fair layer of cheese. He then sat normally on the chair and with the help of a spoon and a fork, mixed everything together. Jenny watched with an amused smile as he twirled a bit too much spaghetti on his fork and managed to stuff everything into his mouth. He chewed for a while until half of it was swallowed.

"This is weawy goow. Wank you Jewy," he said, his mouth still pretty full.

"Don't talk with your mouth full," she admonished gently.

"Oway," he said. Jenny chuckled and grabbed a plate for herself, scooping up her food and putting a little Parmesan on it. She decided to try it Zach's way and mixed it all together. She put a bit of it into her mouth and chewed.

Zach was finally finished with that initial bite.

"What about Gibbs?"

"You can go tell him dinner is served," she said and the boy hopped off the chair and walked away. He turned back, and quickly put some food in his mouth, and then walked out. Jenny smiled at this.

"Gibbs!" Zach said from the top of the stairs.

"Did you find something to eat?"

"No. I got something better. Dinner is served." Zach turned around and left.

Gibbs frowned at his cryptic message. To figure it out, he decided to follow him.

As he made his way through the living room, the smell of food hit him. And not take-out food. Home-made-dinner food. This made his frown deeper, and yet his gut wasn't acting up.

He walked into the dining room/kitchen and smiled. Dinner was indeed served. And by his favorite redhead, no less. He was still slightly worried.

"Did you cook this?"

"Hello Jethro, nice to see you too."

"Did you cook this?" She rolled her eyes.

"I did." She saw his grimace. "Jethro, I can cook."

"Not six years ago you couldn't," he pointed out and she rolled her eyes again.

"That was one time, and it was because you switched the salt and the pepper and a lot more ingredients," she pointed out.

"Gibbs, is weawy goow!" Zach said, yet again with a mouth full of food.

"Zach, what did I tell you?" The boy looked guilty.

"Sowy."

"Just try it, Jethro. It won't kill you," Jenny said exasperated and took another bite.

"Last time it almost did, but okay." He scooped up his food and sat down at the table. He carefully took a bite, knowing Jenny was looking at him. He could almost hear her smug smile when he realized it wasn't half bad. It was actually pretty good.

After eating in silence for a while, Jenny finished first. She took her plate to the sink and rinsed it, putting it in the dishwasher.

Zach finished next. He stood up and did the same as Jenny, and came back to sit at the table.

Jethro thought she hadn't noticed, but Jenny did notice when he scooped up a second serving, making her smile into her glass of water, at that moment. Jenny also noticed that Jethro was eating slower than usual. Zach started tapping his fingers on the table, every now and then looking at Gibbs.

"Gibbs?"

"Hmm?" he hummed over some spaghetti.

"Can you eat faster?!" Zach asked exasperated. Jenny tried to smother her smile with her hand, failing terribly.

"Why?" Gibbs inquired.

"Because I want dessert," Zach said softly. This seemed to speed Gibbs up. When he finished Zach let out a long breath. Jenny got up and took Jethro's plate to the kitchen, and came back with three bowls, three spoons, an ice cream scooper and the ice cream carton. It looked like Zach had some energy-sickness. He was bouncing in his seat.

Jenny scooped some into the first bowl and slid it towards Zach. She did the same to the two other bowls and slid one to Jethro. She gave both a spoon and returned to the kitchen with the scooper and ice cream, returning moments later to her own ice cream.

"Thank you so much. Can I eat it in front of the TV?" Gibbs noticed that the question was directed at Jenny, who nodded.

"Go ahead." The boy gathered his bowl and spoon and soon the two adults heard the TV.

"So, was dinner good?" Jenny asked with a smile as she put a spoonful of ice cream in her mouth.

"Yes. It was good. Thank you," Gibbs said softly. "Why did Zach ask you if he could do something in my house?"

"Maybe because I cooked him dinner." Jenny smirked.

"Thanks for that, by the way."

"Jethro, I called a few people and pulled some strings. You can keep Zach. They won't come next week and take him away. He gets to stay here."

"Really?" Jenny nodded and smiled a small smile at his happy expression.

"I'll still write the recommendation, though," Jenny teased lightly and had the honor of seeing Gibbs turn slightly red. They continued eating their ice cream in a comfortable silence.

When Jenny finished, she put her bowl in the dishwasher and turned, surprised to find Gibbs right behind her. Ignoring the little flutter her heart made, she went into the living room and smiled to herself.

Zach had managed to finish his ice cream, but he was fast asleep, still clutching the bowl and spoon in his hand. She had expected nothing less; it had been a rough day, after all. She felt Gibbs standing next to her and when she turned, her heart made another leap at the look in his eyes.

They both walked over to him, Jenny waking the bowl and spoon and Gibbs lifting him up. He walked up the stairs and Jenny detoured to put the bowl and spoon in the kitchen.

She found them in the spare bedroom, just as Gibbs was putting the boy down.

Gibbs was pulling back the covers and Jenny was taking off Zach's sneakers and socks.

"Is this what he sleeps in?" Jenny asked softly, but Gibbs shook his head.

"No, he wears pajamas," Gibbs replied, equally as soft. "Can you grab them? They're in the bathroom."

Jenny walked into the connecting bathroom and immediately saw what she was looking for; a blue flannel shirt and pants. She walked back into the room and held them up.

Jenny held him up as Gibbs slipped the t-shirt over his head and off him. He then slipped the blue pajama shirt over his head. They did the same with his pants, switching the jeans for the blue pants. She covered him with the blankets when Gibbs went to put away the clothes.

When Gibbs went back to the room, Jenny wasn't there, so he turned off the light and closed the door softly behind him.

He walked back down the stairs and saw Jen shrug into her coat.

"You leaving?" he asked, watching her.

"Yeah. I actually only came to bring groceries, but then Zach said he was hungry, so I made dinner," she said and pulled her hair out from under her coat.

"It was delicious," Gibbs commented.

"Does it change your opinion on my cooking?"

"Maybe," he said vaguely and she chuckled. He was so stubborn. He handed her purse to her.

"Thank you," she said. She was opened the door and was halfway outside when she turned back and Gibbs stood right behind her for the second time that night. He was leaning against his door frame and held the door with his hand.

"Good night Jethro," she said.

"G'night Jen," he said and went to kiss her cheek, when she suddenly turned her head and his lips brushed hers. He kept his lips where they were and kissed her tenderly. When the shock left her body she kissed him back. He deepened the kiss and his hand left the door in favor of her waist, which he used to pull her closer to him. The kiss quickly turned passionate and Jenny could feel her knees weaken. She looped her arms around his neck to keep her steady.

Her lungs were protesting very hard and she finally listened to them, pulling away, slightly breathless.

"Good night Jethro," she said breathlessly. She quickly pressed a kiss to his lips before turning around and walking to her car, leaving a stupidly grinning Gibbs behind.

"G'night Jen," he said softly, to no one. He then closed the door and went back to the basement, smiling the whole way.

Chapter Text

"Good morning," Gibbs said to Zach as the boy walked in, still half asleep into the kitchen.

"Hmm, morning. Too early," Zach said and put his head on the table.

"Hey, Zach, this weekend our team has to work the hotline, you want to tag along?" Gibbs asked.

"Will Jenny be there?" he asked.

"I don't know. Call her," Gibbs said and walked past Zach, setting his cellphone on the table.

He lifted his head enough to look at the phone. He picked it up and searched the numbers. He found her in speed dial #1. Smiling he pressed the button and waited.

"Morning Gibbs," Jenny said over the phone casually.

"Morning Director," Zach said.

"Zach! Good morning. How did you sleep?"

"Short. Are you going to work today?"

"It's Saturday."

"I know, but Gibbs is working and if you're gonna be there I'll go," Zach clarified.

"Well, I am going to work," Jenny said.

"Jenny, does Gibbs have a laptop?" At this he heard her laugh.

"No, Zach, he doesn't. Do you want me to bring my personal laptop with me for you?"

"Yes please. Does NCIS have wireless internet?"

"Of course it does."

"I assume Gibbs house doesn't?"

"Correct," Jenny said with a laugh.

"Okay. See you later, Jenny," Zach said.

"You too, Zach." Zach clicked the red button on the cell phone and reluctantly got up and went up the stairs.


"Zach, you ready?!" Gibbs yelled up the stairs.

"NO!" he yelled back, making Gibbs go up the stairs and into his bedroom. He saw the bathroom door open and saw Zach standing on a step he had placed there, brushing his teeth.

"Is your bag ready?" he asked and the boy nodded.

"Is Jenny working today?" Gibbs asked and the boy inwardly smiled. He shrugged and looked at Gibbs through the mirror. The man came to stand right behind him.

"Yesh," he said his mouth full of toothpaste, before he spit it out and rinsed his mouth. He smiled wide in the mirror to inspect his teeth and then determined they were good. Gibbs walked into the bedroom and held his bag up.

"Zach, what do you have in here?" He doubted the boy could walk straight at the weight of the backpack.

"My iPod, a CD, the DS and a few games, some clothes, a sandwich, a pair of shoes, my wallet, a few movies and a bottle of water," he said as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

"Why clothes?" Gibbs asked, intrigued. Zach passed his arms through the loops of the bag and walked straight as ever out the room.

"Because I know you Gibbs. You're gonna catch a case and we're gonna be there late. And then I'll have clothes and shoes to change into. It's good to be prepared Gibbs. Is also why I have a sandwich and my wallet for goodies from the breakroom."

Gibbs smiled at this. The walked down the stairs and not once did Zach lean forward. Gibbs looked on surprised.

They sat in Gibbs truck, stuck at a red light that had been that way forever, when Zach bent forward and fiddled with the radio.

"It doesn't work, it's broken," Gibbs said, but Zach just kept fiddling with it.

"Never believe what you're told. Always double check," Zach said and Gibbs turned to look at him. This kid was a mini-him, just like Abby had said.

"Well, it's broken," Zach stated after a while making Gibbs smile. "Luckily, I have my iPod." Zach held his iPod up triumphantly. He searched in the front of his bag and produced a wire. He stuck it somewhere in the radio, pressed play on his device and suddenly music blared from the speaker, making Gibbs jump.

"Oh, that's a little loud." It wasn't Abby's type of music, it was some softer rock, but still, being that loud, he couldn't help it.

"No, Zach, just stick those wires in your ears," Gibbs ordered. Zach shrugged unplugged the thing and put the earphones in his ears.

They drove further in silence.

"Zach... Zach, Zach!" Gibbs tried to call out, but the boy wasn't listening. Gibbs pulled one of the earphones out of his ear.

"Zach we're here," he said in his ear and that seemed to work. He opened the door and hopped out, grabbing his backpack in the process. They walked through the parking garage to the elevators.

"Gibbs? How do you activate the elevator? There's no button," Zach said and Gibbs leaned forward. The laser came out and scanned his eye and the elevator opened.

"Wow, that is cool," Zach said, making Gibbs chuckle. Gibbs looked at the boy whose head was bobbing to a beat and occasionally he would bust a small move, making Gibbs smile.

They entered the bullpen and found Ziva and McGee at their desks, but Tony nowhere to be found.

"Good morning, Gibbs," Ziva said not looking up from her paperwork.

"Morning boss," McGee said.

"Where is DiNozzo?" Gibbs asked, looking at Ziva, then McGee, who both shrugged.

"And what am I, invisible?" Zach said.

"Good morning Zach," Ziva said with a smile. "I really didn't see you, you were hiding behind my cubicle wall."

"Oh," Zach said and moved a bit to the side so she could see him.

"Good morning Zach," McGee said.

"Morning Tim. Morning Ziva," Zach said. Gibbs steered Zach towards his desk.

"Sit," he said. Zach dropped his backpack next to the desk and sat in Gibbs chair. "Now, I don't want you to cause any trouble. I'm going out for coffee."

"Ok," Zach said.

"Also," Gibbs said and moved closer, so only Zach would hear. "When DiNozzo comes in, slap him for me and whenever it's necessary."

"Up the head?" Zach looked excited that he was allowed to.

"Yes." Gibbs straightened. "I'm going for coffee." And with that, he walked out of the bullpen onto the elevator.

"I'll be right back," Zach said and walked up the stairs to the catwalk that led to the Director's office.

He walked past Cynthia's desk and burst into Jenny's office. He stood there a second, and Jenny watched with an amused expression as he frowned and walked back out, then came back in.

"No Cynthia?" he asked.

"Nope," she said, shaking her head.

"Then what's the whole point in even bursting in here?" Zach asked.

"You should ask Gibbs," Jenny said and watched as he made a mental note to do so.

"Good morning," Zach said. He walked over to her and stood on his tiptoes to kiss her cheek.

"Morning, Zach." He walked back over to stand in front of her desk and smiled. Jenny reached behind her and held up a laptop bag.

"Is this what you're here for?" she asked and handed it to him.

"Yes." Zach smiled triumphantly. "Is it okay if I let Abby install a program on it?"

"What kind of program?" Jenny inquired. She really didn't mind, but she wanted to at least know what it was.

"It's called iTunes. It's so I can put songs on my iPod," Zach said, holding up the device.

"Okay, go ahead, Zach. Where's Gibbs?"

"Coffee run," Zach said and then turned to walk out of the door. "Thanks Jenny."

"You're welcome Zach," Jenny said as he left and closed the door behind him.

Zach went back down the stairs and sat in Gibbs chair, but he turned it so his back was to the team. The elevator dinged out and listening to the footsteps, he discerned that it wasn't Gibbs.

Tony let out a sigh of relief. Gibbs wasn't here. Even with the chair its back to him, he could usually see the top of Gibbs head. Thank God the boss wasn't here, he thought.

"DiNozzo! You're late!" Zach yelled and Tony froze, making Ziva chuckle. Zach turned the chair and set his elbows on the desk in front of him.

"Care to explain why?" Zach said in a Gibbs-tone.

"Uh, well, last night I was up 'til late and then this morning I overslept and there was traffic..." Tony rambled on, but Zach didn't miss the look that Tony gave Ziva, and Ziva smiled.

"DiNozzo!" he yelled to shut him up.

"Shutting up, mini-boss." Tony turned to go, but Zach stopped him.

"Where are you going? We're not done."

"McGee, can I stand on this desk? Is it gonna break?" Zach asked.

"Uh, no Zach, it won't break." Zach crawled on top of the desk and stood tall in front of Tony, making the older man look up. He slapped the upside of Tony's head.

"That was for coming in late." And then slapped him again. "And that is for lying about it." Zach sat back down in the chair. Tony walked to his desk and sat down. Zach smiled to himself and picked up Jenny laptop case. He put the strap around his neck and then left.

On the way to Abby's lab he had an epiphany. What if Abby wasn't working today? But then the elevator doors opened and he heard music blaring. Yup, she was working today.

He walked into her lab and poked her, making her jump a foot in the air.

"Oh God! Zach! Good morning. Don't ever do that again! You scared me!" At his guilty look she softened.

"Sorry," he said and looked down.

"Aww, kiddo. What's up? What brings you to my neck of the woods?"

"Can you help me?"

"Sure, whaddaya need?" Zach took the strap from his neck.

"Could you install iTunes for me?" Zach asked and put the laptop case on the table.

"Of course. Hold on," Abby said and walked to her office, returning with her chair for him to sit on. Zach gladly sat in the chair. Abby took out the laptop and turned it on.

"Whose laptop is this?"

"Jenny's."

"And you're allowed to put iTunes on it?" She turned to Zach who nodded. "Okay." Abby shrugged.

Ten minutes later, the program was installed.

"Zach, do you want new music on your iPod?"

"Yes." He handed over his iPod, a white wire and a CD. "Can you put this CD on my iPod?"

"Of course I can. Piece of cake." Abby inserted the CD and waited for the songs to save.

Gibbs walked in, Caf-Pow! in one hand, two cups of coffee in a transport carton in the other.

"Morning Abs," he said and kissed her cheek, handing her the Caf-Pow!

"Good morning, Oh Great One." She took a long sip of her drink and sighed. Gibbs smelled both cups of coffee and handed one to Zach.

"Coffee?" he asked, making Gibbs chuckle and shake his head.

"No. Hot chocolate." Zach took a small sip of the drink and smiled.

"Thank you Gibbs," Zach said but Gibbs was already gone. "Abby, what's that?" He pointed to the Caf-Pow!

"It's Caf-Pow! You've never tried it? It's highly caffeinated, but, oh well, just try it." She handed the drink to Zach who took a peek inside and grimaced. He took a gulp but spurted it out almost immediately.

"Eww!" he said with a frown, quickly taking a sip from his own drink, willing the taste to go away.

"Oh well, less for you, more for me," Abby said and took a long sip. "Oh look. Your iPod's all done."

"Thanks Abby." Zach unplugged the iPod and wire and closed the laptop, placing it in the case and putting the iPod in his pocket.

"You know, I've always wondered why barely anybody knows about Caf-Pow! because it's really delicious, though clearly not everybody likes it, well maybe just you and Gibbs, but still a lot of places don't..." she trailed off when she realized Zach was gone. She shrugged and went back to her computer.

Zach was walking towards Gibbs' desk, and passing in front of Tony and Ziva's desks he just managed to dodge a spitball that came his way.

"Gibbs?" he asked permission.

"Go ahead." So he walked over to Tony, stood on his tiptoes and slapped the back of his head. He walked to Gibbs desk and pulled the laptop out of the case and opened it on Gibbs desk. He rummaged through his backpack and finally found what he was looking for: a DVD movie. He opened the case. He pressed the eject button and took the current disc out and put in the DVD. He took a chair from the empty desk and sat on it, watching the beginning credits roll.

Ziva was at her desk, fixing her nails with her knife, when she heard the opening song of the movie Zach was watching.

"Wall-E?" she asked and the boy looked up, nodding with a smile. "That movie is adorable!" She stood up. She walked over to where Zach sat and went to squat down when Zach patted on the space next to him in the oversized chair. Ziva squeezed in and took the boy onto her lap.

"That movie is cute," McGee said and stood up from his desk. He kneeled down next to the chair. Tony got up and stood behind the chair.

"This is an animated film!" Tony said. Ziva slowly turned to him.

"Tony. Have you not seen this movie?" Ziva asked astonished.

"No."

"That's a first," McGee said.

"Shut up, all of you!" Gibbs said. "Paperwork. All three of you."

"I am done, Gibbs, I already delivered them to Jenny," Ziva said.

"So did I," McGee said, but Tony simply groaned and went to his desk.

"Could you take this over there," Gibbs said and motioned to McGee's desk. "It's distracting." Zach shrugged and got up, taking the laptop and putting it on McGee's desk. McGee sat down in his chair and Ziva brought the other chair with her. Zach sat in her lap and the three continued watching the movie.


Jenny rubbed her eyes. The letters on the paper she was reading were getting blurry. She hadn't slept well, memories of the kiss the main cause of her insomnia. She needed coffee and she needed coffee fast. Her accidental little action caused inner turmoil. But really, since when does he give her a kiss on the cheek? She kept thinking about how her lips had burned for hours after, and how she could still taste bourbon on her tongue, even though she hadn't been the one drinking it. Okay, Jenny, enough. She resolutely got up and shoved her chair from under her, perhaps a little too rough. She walked out of her office and down the stairs, past empty desks, but she stopped at Gibbs' section and took in the scene.

Tony was bitterly typing something up, probably paperwork. She silently laughed to herself. When Ziva and then McGee had brought up their paperwork, she knew Tony was gonna suffer. She saw Zach, Ziva and McGee bent over her laptop, laughing about something. They were probably watching a movie. She allowed herself a small smile at that. And then she turned to Gibbs only to have him looking right back at her.

He stood up and grabbed his coat.

"Going for coffee?" he asked and stood in front of her. Great, she thought. This was exactly what she needed right now. Coffee with the man she was trying to forget.

"Yeah."

"I'll join ya." She was holding her coat in her hands, and it was then that Gibbs noticed that she wasn't in her usual office attire. Nice, he thought. She was wearing a pair of jeans and a simple dark-green V-neck sweater, that made her eyes sparkle, and of course her usual heels.

She saw his gaze and blushed a bit, happy that he was looking at her shoes so he wouldn't see her flush.


As they walked down the street in silence, the tension was palpable. Gibbs knew he didn't regret the kiss, and she couldn't use the excuse that it was accidental, because the moment she kissed back it was more than that. And she knew he wouldn't see the kiss as accidental.

He held the door to the coffee shop open for her and let her pass by him.

Jenny walked up to the counter, Gibbs right behind her. It was unusually quiet for a Saturday. The kid behind the counter recognized Gibbs almost immediately.

"Agent Gibbs!" He looked at his watch. "I wasn't expecting you for another hour, your usual isn't ready." He looked a little panicky, undoubtedly having been a victim to the Gibbs glare on more than one occasion.

"It's okay, Mason, we'll wait. Make it two of the usual," Gibbs said and led Jenny to one of the many empty tables.

"So, you have a regular time that you come, every hour and a half?" Jenny asked with an amused smile.

"Yes. Hell, I even know the kid's name."

"And he knows your usual. How sweet," Jenny mocked. She put her hand on his arm in her mockery, but he grabbed it and held it in his own.

"No mocking," he said. He gently set her hand down. "We need to talk."

"'Bout what?" she feigned ignorance, making him frown.

"You know what," he all but growled.

"Can we not discuss this here?" she asked, unconsciously leaning closer to him.

"Okay," he said, way too easily. "My place, tonight. Bring food, we'll be hungry."

"Agent Gibbs, it's ready!" the kid said from behind the counter. Gibbs stood up and accepted the two coffees.

"Put it on my tab," Gibbs said and walked to the door. Jenny sat rooted to the spot.

"You comin' Jen?" That seemed to spur her into action. She hastily got up and walked past him, taking a coffee in the process.

As they were walking back to NCIS in silence one thing went through Jenny's head.

I am not looking forward to tonight.

As they were walking back to NCIS in silence one thing went through Gibbs' head.

I am looking forward to tonight.

Chapter Text

Zach got up from Ziva's lap when Jenny and Gibbs entered the elevator. He stood by the window, watching, waiting, and only when he saw Jenny and Gibbs walk past, did he jump in an elevator and went down to see Abby.

"Abby Abby Abby Abby Abby Abby!" he said running into her lab. She turned to him.

"Zach Zach Zach Zach Zach Zach! What's up!" Zach stood in front of her, a smile on his face.

"I wanna get Jenny and Gibbs together," he said and watched as the smile on Abby's face grew into almost the shape of a banana. It was so big, it could split her face.

"Really? I've been trying for years! But I guess with you on the inside would be much easier. Because the silver fox and Director are perfect for each other. But we need help, so—."

"Abby! Breathe," Zach said. Abby took a deep breath.

"We need help," Abby stated.

"Who can we ask for help?"

"Ducky." Abby grabbed Zach's hand and dragged him out her lab.


"Abigail! Good morning. And dear Zachary, how are you?" Ducky said affectionately.

"Morning Ducky!"

"Good morning Ducky, I'm good," Zach said politely.

"We need your help Ducky," Abby said. Zach sat down in a rotating chair and Abby hopped onto one of the tables.

"Alright. What is it?"

"We want to get Gibbs and the Director together," Abby said and immediately Ducky groaned.

"Oh Abigail. Not again," Ducky said, reminding her of the failed last attempt.

"Come on Ducky, please?" Zach begged and put on his cutest face.

"Alright then, what do you need?" he agreed reluctantly.

"An idea. They need to loosen up!" Abby exclaimed. Zach was sitting on the chair, slowly going round and round.

"Well, the perfect way to do so is to get them out of the office. Take the whole team out, to dinner or a movie or—."

"Or a club!" Zach said, staying suddenly still in the chair, which made him sway a little.

"Or a club," Ducky said.

"Zach you are a genius!" Abby said. "Tonight, we shall party!"

"But I can't go to a club," Zach sighed.

"Then I'll watch you tonight, little lad. It will be fun," Ducky promised, making Zach smile.

"You'll tell me stories?" he asked.

"Yes I will."

"Alright. Thank you Ducky, you're the best!" Abby hugged Ducky. Zach got up and took her example, but hugged as much of Ducky as he could in his short state.

"Bye Ducky, see you tonight." The two left, the doors swishing close behind them. Ducky stood there a moment, contemplating what had just happened. He shook his head and went back to work.


Tony, McGee and Ziva looked up from the laptop just as Abby and Zach got out of the elevator.

"Morning guys!" Abby said, cheerful.

"Good morning Abby," they chorused.

"We gotta do this quickly, before Gibbs gets back. Tonight, we're all going out to a club. Gibbs and the Director too," Abby ranted.

"Abby? What are you planning?" McGee asked.

"We," Abby said and pulled Zach closer to her. "Are getting Gibbs and the Director together."

"Well, I'm all for clubbing," Tony said with a grin.

"How are you going to make Jenny and Gibbs go, Abby?" Ziva asked.

"We'll invite Gibbs here and you and me will go to the Director's house and drag her to the club." Abby and Zach smiled confidently.

"What club are we going to? Our usual?" McGee asked.

"Oh, a new one opened just a few blocks down from our usual. It's really awesome," Tony said, making Ziva look at him suspiciously. This did not go unnoticed by Zach.

"And who'll watch Zach?" Tony asked.

"Ducky," Zach said.

"This is great! We'll work out the definitive plan later, but yay!" Abby said excited.

"Why are you so excited?" Gibbs asked and they were all suddenly aware of his presence.

"Brain Matter released a new CD!" Abby quickly said, and it wasn't a lie; they really didrelease new album.

"Alright, I'm going back down to my lab to listen to it," Abby announced and bounced away.

"Tony, paperwork?" Gibbs said to DiNozzo, who was looking at the laptop. Zach walked back over to Ziva and reclaimed his spot.

"All done boss, just have to take it up to the Director," Tony said.

"Well what are you waiting for?" Gibbs said.


It was almost seven, and no calls had come in that day and miraculously all the paperwork was done, so Gibbs relieved his team of duty. They were all waiting in front of the elevator, when the doors opened to reveal Abby.

"Hi guys!" A series of 'hey Abs' and 'hey Abby' followed. "A new club opened a few blocks from our usual bar and I thought we could all check it out!" Gibbs' minions all smiled and agreed.

"Gibbs?" Abby asked hopeful.

"No, Abs, I have plans. And plus, who'll watch Zach?" But Abby already had her strategy set, he wasn't getting out of this one.

"Ducky volunteered! And I'm sure you can get out of your plans. Please, Gibbs? Just a few songs, then you can go home. We haven't been out all together since... Well, I can't even remember. Please Gibbs, just tonight," Abby begged. She was willing to go on her knees if it would make Gibbs go.

"Fine, Abs," Gibbs sighed and wondered what the hell he got himself into. And then he thought he'd have to cancel with Jenny, making him sigh again.

"YAY! Okay, Gibbs, we'll have Tony and McGee pick you up around eight, and Ducky'll show up to watch Zach. We're carpooling, because parking there is horrible and expensive. Me and Ziva'll come together, got it, everyone?" They all nodded. "Alrighty!" Abby conveniently forgot to mention that they would get Jenny there too. Zach and Abby shared a low high-five behind Gibbs back. Now, to get the Director to go.


Jenny was sitting in her study, when her phone rang. She picked up the phone without looking at the screen.

"Shepard," she answered and leaned back in her chair.

"Jenny, I have to cancel tonight," came his voice over the phone. Her brain went 'yay' but her heart saddened.

"Okay," she said casually.

"You gonna ask why?" She smiled.

"No."

"But you should still come over. Tomorrow. You bring the food and I'll supply alcohol," he said and she could practically hear him smirk.

"We'll see. Goodnight Jethro," she said.

"Night Jen." She smiled and sank down into her chair. She decided to go upstairs and then the bell rang. She walked to her front door barefoot, wearing sweatpants and tank top. She opened the door and found Ziva and Abby on her step.

"Oh no, that won't do," Abby said dramatically, motioning to her.

"Luckily we brought supplies," Ziva said, smiling as the two pushed their way into Jenny's house.

"What are you two up to?" she asked, just a tad bit fearful. Ziva was carrying a duffel bag and Abby was holding what looked like a crime-scene kit.

"We are going clubbing Jenny and you are not dressed the part," Ziva said.

"No. I am not going out with you two ever again," Jenny said, memories of the drunken game they played coming back to her in flashes.

"Come on, it'll be fun!" Abby said. "Please, Jenny? Just this one time." It seemed that Jenny couldn't refuse Abby either.

"Alright," Jenny concede. "What are in those bags?"

"What, you didn't think we were going like this, were you?" Ziva asked and they pushed her up the stairs to her bedroom, where it was revealed that the kit Abby had been holding was full of make-up and the duffel bag contained clothes.

At first it had been tricky. Jenny had refused help from either of the two, assuring them that she could do her own make-up and had clothes. Ziva and Abby handcuffed her to a chair and while Abby held her head still, Ziva did Jenny's make-up. When Ziva was halfway done with the second eye, Jenny caved and decided it couldn't be that bad. Abby had released her from the handcuffs on the condition that she sit still.

After that fiasco was over, Abby and Ziva both did their make-up. Yet, they hit another roadblock when Jenny saw what Abby had laid out for her to wear. Again, Jenny was tied to a chair, while Abby and Ziva got dressed first, giving her time to think it over. Abby wore her usual platform boots, a short skirt, a red Brain Matter t-shirt. On top of it she wore a little black leather vest. For the occasion, she didn't put her hair up in pigtails. Ziva also wore boots for the occasion, high-heeled boots in fact, and wearing skinny jeans, the boots went over the bottom of her jeans. She wore a very risqué dark purple, halter top, that was pretty much backless and showed a lot of cleavage. Her hair was straight and open and she looked stunning.

Jenny still feared what they had picked out for her. On the bed lay a strapless, black clingy top, the kind that was long and hit the top of your thighs. A low-cut pair of skinny jeans with a dark red belt sitting next to it. Although she had to admit, she did like the red heels.

Finally, after having the two sit and watch her for twenty minutes, she relented. They untied her with a smile and pushed her into the bathroom with the outfit.

"Think she'll wear it?" Abby asked.

"If not, we are tying her back to that chair," Ziva said.

"No you won't!" Jenny yelled from the bathroom and finally the door opened. Both women's jaws simply dropped.

"What is it?" They dragged her to a mirror. She looked great. The darkness of the outfit seemed to make her green eyes sparkle and her red hair looked gorgeous.

"You... you look a-mazing!" Abby said.

"Really? Don't you think I'm too old to go to—."

"Don't even say that!" Abby cried out.

"One more thing. Accessories," Ziva said. She grabbed the belt from the bed. She pulled it around Jenny, but not around her hips, around her midriff, right under her boobs. Abby rummaged through a bag that Jenny hadn't even noticed before and produced silver drop earrings for Jenny.

"For you," Abby said and handed them over. "And for you." She handed Ziva a pair of earrings that had a bunch of hoops in different sizes. Ziva grabbed Jenny's hand and slid a maroon bangle onto her wrist.

"We are ready to go!" Abby was excited, Ziva was pleased and Jenny was nervous.


The sound of footsteps had Gibbs groaning. He and Zach were in his basement working on the boat. Well, Zach was sanding it, and had refused to let Gibbs work, so he wouldn't ruin his clothes. Zach was the one who had picked out a nice pair of dark jeans and a blue dress shirt that made his eyes pop. Add a nice pair of shoes he found all the way in the back of the closet, some cologne and a tad of gel and you had a nicely cleaned Jethro Gibbs. So naturally, after all his hard work, Zach wasn't going to let sawdust ruin the outfit.

"Do people just walk into your house, Gibbs?" Zach wondered.

"Yep. The front door is always open when I'm at home," Gibbs replied.

"But why?"

"Well, it's so I don't have to go all the way up the stairs to open the door and come all the way back down. People know where to find me."

"Oh, okay." Zach continued sanding the hull of the boat. "Ducky, Tony and Tim are here."

"I know." And then all three appeared at the top of the stairs.

"Hey boss, ready to go?" Tony asked.

"Yeah." Gibbs emptied his glass of bourbon in one gulp and went up the stairs.

"Hey Duck. Don't let him work on the boat all night," Gibbs said to Ducky, making the older man chuckle.

"Go, Jethro, have fun!" He called after the three retreating backs. When he heard the front door slam shut he smiled and walked down the stairs.

"You think it'll work?" Zach asked.

"I think Abigail and the team will work very hard to make sure of it."

"Good," Zach said with a sharp nod of the head.


The boys arrived first. It was only eight-thirty, but the place was already packed. The people were drinking or dancing. Flo-Rida's 'Low' was beating out of the speakers at a high volume, creating the perfect atmosphere. They headed to the bar.

"Two beers and a bourbon, straight!" Tony yelled to the bartender. They got their drinks and paid. They stayed at the bar, scanning the crowd. Tony was wearing black jeans, with a crisp white shirt, the top three buttons undone, showing off a little of his toned chest and the sleeves rolled up. McGee wore black pants and a beige dress shirt, folded up at the arms, just like Tony's.

Tony was the first to spot the girls, and he nearly fell out of his chair at the sight of the three. They all looked hot. He waved his arms to get their attention. Abby spotted him and pulled the other two to the bar. Ziva caught his eye and she winked at him and he nearly died. She was wearing his favorite top. She was gonna drive him crazy tonight.

The girls now reached the boys. Abby hugged the three men and everybody greeted each other.

The song slowly mixed into another that Abby recognized and she squealed.

"Timmy, let's dance," she said and dragged him to the dance floor.

Tony followed Abby's lead and led Ziva to the dance floor, but not before saying, "Come on, boss."

"I have a feeling rule number twelve is being broken," Jenny said in amusement to Gibbs. He quickly scanned the dancing crowd and found Abby and McGee kissing and moving to the beat and Tony's arms around Ziva with their faces very close.

"Jethro relax," she said and stole his drink, taking a long sip from it.

"I will kill them," he grumbled, making her laugh.

"This is why you canceled?" she asked.

"Yeah, Abby begged me."

"Me too. And they tied me to a chair, but that was much later," Jenny said nonchalantly, and watched as Gibbs' eyes went wide. He leaned impossibly closer, so they didn't have to scream, but his breath on her ear was slowly driving her insane.

"Remember that time in Germany when we—." He was interrupted by her hand on his mouth.

"Yes, I remember perfectly fine, Jethro." He smirked at her flushed face.

"You look nice," he said and looked away as her gaze snapped to his.

"You don't look too bad yourself," she said and decided to just let loose.

"Thank Zach."

"Well, in that case thank Ziva and Abby," she said, and ordered another drink.

"Are you telling me that the beautiful Director of NCIS doesn't own such low-cut pants or tight tops?" he teased and she turned redder at the word 'beautiful' but went along with it.

"Wouldn't you want to know," she murmured playfully.

"I'm serious, Jen, you really look nice." Her breath got caught in her throat at the sultry look he was giving. She decided to hell with it. She grabbed his hand.

"Let's dance," she said as a faster beat came on, and they walked to the dance floor. With Gibbs' hand on her waist and Jenny's arms draped around his neck, they moved to the music. The dancing felt almost natural to him and that was a frightening thought. Jenny could see Ziva and Tony behind Gibbs and was glad that Jethro couldn't see them. It was as if the two forgot who they were here with. Ziva had turned around, but her arms had remained behind Tony's neck. Tony's hands were on her hips and their hips moved together. Occasionally the would kiss or whisper to each other. She couldn't find Abby and McGee, but that was soon solved when she felt someone bump into her from the back, sending her crashing into Gibbs' body. She turned her head and saw Abby and McGee. She shot Jenny an apologetic smile.

She didn't know how long they danced, but Jenny became vaguely aware of the fact that she was now closer to Jethro than ever.


"Tony, when did you come here?" Ziva whispered in his ear, the movements of her hips never stopping.

"Last week, with a few buddies. Our boys night out, remember? You and Abby had a girls' night," Tony reminded her and she smiled.

"Yes. I do remember." She made her point with a deep kiss.


"Timmy, that was genius!" Abby yelled to McGee after they had bumped into Jenny.

"Abby, it was your idea," McGee pointed out.

"I know!" Abby said excitedly and gave him a kiss.


The night was filled with drinking, laughing and dancing, on everybody's part. Abby noticed that Jenny and Gibbs' were drinking out of the same glass and she smiled. Oh how she hoped they would get drunk and make out.

At one point, Abby, McGee, Tony and Ziva went back to the dance floor and left Jenny and Gibbs in a corner. The two were standing very close to each other. Jethro said something that made Jenny laugh, and he turned away in mock-anger and then it happened. Jenny pulled him back a little too roughly and their faces ended up mere millimeters apart.

"Jethro," she drawled and it was just the way she said it that made him crash his lips against hers. She couldn't move. One of his hands was holding her close and the other was tangled in her hair. So she did the only thing that seemed logical at that moment; she kissed him back. That's how they stayed for the rest of the night. Just re-familiarizing themselves with each other's lips. They couldn't stop. However, when Jenny saw the gang walk towards them, she pushed him away. The smiles remained in place.

"We wanted to head home," Tony said as they got closer. "We're all pretty tired and it's pretty late." Jenny looked at her watch and her eyes widened. It was almost two o'clock.

"So, we decided that we will take Tony's car and he'll drop us off at home, and you two can keep my car, because I am in no shape to drive," Ziva said. They all said their goodbyes and the young group left.

"It's late, Jethro, we should go home," Jenny suggested and he nodded. He took her hand in his and led her out the club. When they were outside Jenny led the way. She knew where Ziva's car was parked. Gibbs saw the mini car and they walked to it in silence. He walked over to the passenger side with her, but she leaned against the side of the car and pulled him to her. They shared deep kiss.

"Take me home, Jethro," she said, throwing all her precautions out the window.

"Whose would that be, yours or mine?" he asked, his mouth close to her ear.

"Yours."

Chapter Text

The drive to his house was the most excruciatingly long drive ever. The way her hand had started off at his knee and slowly worked its way closer to his groin almost made him run them off the road. She wasn't even looking at him; her whole body was twisted away from him, except that hand.

"Jen," he had growled one time, but she had turned to him, an innocent look on her face.

"What?"

"You know what," he said, but she didn't go any further. They reached his house and both adults got out almost immediately.

"Ducky's in there?" Jenny asked and Gibbs nodded. The entered through the front door.

"Ducky?" Gibbs called out.

"In here, Jethro," Ducky said from the living room. Jenny took the chance and bounded up the stairs.

Gibbs walked to the living room, and found Ducky sitting on the couch, reading a book.

"Thank you, Duck. Did he fall asleep alright?" Gibbs asked as Ducky stood up.

"Yes, he got into bed and I was telling a story and it seemed he fell asleep," Ducky said. "I'll be going now." Gibbs walked Ducky to the front door, when the older man stopped and turned. "Good night, Jennifer," he yelled up the stairs and it was immediately followed by something, probably Jenny's foot, hitting something else, probably a table and then a soft curse. Ducky smiled and walked out the door.

"Good night Jethro," he said and got into his car.

Gibbs smiled and locked the front door; he certainly didn't want anyone to interrupt his night.

With a grin he headed up the stairs. He opened his bedroom door, just as Jenny emerged from the spare room Zach was in.

"He asleep?" She nodded and pushed him into his bedroom, closing the door with her foot...


She awoke the next morning with a startle. There was an arm flung around her waist and she could feel the person breathing on her neck. She twisted her head and was only slightly surprised to find Jethro peacefully asleep. The neon numbers behind him caught her eyes. 0600. No wonder she was still sleepy; they'd only been asleep for an hour.

She tried to ease her way out of Jethro's grip, but the moment she did, his grasp tightened. So she waited a few minutes and then tried again, this time she was successful. She walked to the en-suite bathroom and looked in the mirror. She realized her make-up was still on, but quickly took care of it by washing her face. She grabbed one of his sweatpants and a t-shirt and put them on, not caring about underwear. She went back into the bedroom and picked up her discarded clothing.

She quietly opened the door to the bedroom, knowing it creaked and sighing when it didn't. She tiptoed down the hall and down the stairs. Once she stood in the doorway, she put on her heels and left, walking towards Ziva's car.


He woke up naked and alone. The latter was familiar to him, but not the former and especially not together. He sat up and looked at his clock. 0700Early, he thought. So where was she? He was very sure she had been here last night and his state of clothing proved that. When he sat up, he noticed her clothes were gone and it hit him like a ton of bricks: she left.

He got up and pulled on his boxers, walking towards the bathroom. He pulled on a shirt and sweatpants and made a decision as to what he was gonna do.

He was gonna pay her a visit. Right now, he thought. And he'd take Zach with him.

He left the bathroom and went to the spare room. He sat down on the bed.

"Hey, Zach, wake up. Wanna go visit Jenny?" he asked. The boy was sleeping on his stomach with his face buried in his hands.

"Mhm-hmmm, later," the boy mumbled.

"What if I said you could sleep there for a while?" The boy twisted his head and cracked one eye open.

"M'kay." Gibbs grabbed Zach's bag by the door. The boy got up and slipped on his slippers. He went down the stairs and Gibbs was waiting with his jacket ready. He simply slipped his arms through it and they left. He was half-asleep when they walked down the drive-way, got in the car, drove across town and got back out of the car.

Gibbs watched on with amusement as the boy's head would occasionally bob forward and then spring back into place. He got out of the car and walked around, helping Zach out and getting his back-pack.

Gibbs walked up to the front door and rang the bell. He waited a minute then rang it again. When no response came, he knocked.


Jenny was in a deep slumber when she faintly heard the bell. She ignored it and went back to sleep. Then she heard the second bell and became frustrated and got out of bed, planning on telling the person off. As she was coming down the stairs she heard knocking and almost froze.

That was one person and one person only.

"Come on!" she heard Zach yell and smiled.

"Comin'," she said and was already opening the front door. Zach, still wearing his pajamas, pushed past her and started ascending the stairs, slowly. Gibbs also came in and dropped the backpack next to the door.

"We need to talk," he said.

"Jethro, I'm really tired. I'm going to go to sleep and when I wake up in a few hours, we'll talk, okay?" she asked. He shrugged and closed the door behind him. She stood astonished when he went up the stairs. She had meant for him to go home, not stay!

She shook her head and went upstairs. She opened the first door on her right and almost fainted. Gibbs was sleeping on the left side in the bed and Zach a little in the middle, but more to the right. They terrorized my bedroom! Now, she could understand Zach, the sleepy boy had probably opened the first door and found a bed, that much was obvious, but Jethro knew which one was her bedroom. Well, at least he didn't get in on my side.

Jenny closed the door and walked over to the bed. She pulled back the covers and the way Zach squirmed at the sudden cold rush of air was enough to make her stop a second and smile. She got in the bed and covered herself, and was soon lulled to sleep by the feeling of Zach's breathing, because he was lying curled up against her, and Jethro's snoring.


It was a few hours later that Zach woke up. He first shook his head. He turned to his left and there was Jenny and he turned to his right and there was Gibbs. Interesting. He crawled out on top of the covers to the foot of the bed and got up. He smiled at the way Jenny and Gibbs inched closer, seeking warmth. Jenny's head ended up on Gibbs shoulder with his arm around her.

Zach couldn't help it and picked up Jenny's Blackberry off the nightstand and took a few pictures of the two. He had pictures on her phone, but didn't deem it enough.

Where would she keep her camera?

Zach started looking through her drawers, knowing that he shouldn't snoop, but doing it anyway. And then he saw a small camera bag in the walk-in closet, in the far back corner. He had to crawl to get to it, but once he did, he was happy. He sat on the floor and took out the camera. It was big and looked expensive. She probably liked taking pictures, but hadn't in a long time. He started looking through the pictures on the memory card. The pictures dated years back. Some of the pictures looked real professional. He made a mental note to bring that up.

And then, suddenly, there was a picture of Gibbs. But it was a much younger-looking Gibbs. He remembered what Gibbs said and concluded that this must've been that history he was talking about. He stopped at the third picture of Gibbs, realizing this was beyond breaching her privacy. He got up and made sure the strap was securely around his neck, before walking out of the closet and into the bedroom. He held the camera up and snapped away. At one point he even crawled onto the bed and took a close-up of their faces, so close to each other. Abby would be so thrilled.

When he heard one of them stir, he ran back to the closet and stashed the camera. He sat in the middle of the closet and that's how Jenny found him moments later.

"What are you doing in here?" she asked and walked around him to grab something off a shelf. Zach simply shrugged.

"You have a lot of clothes. You have a lot of shoes." The last sentence made Jenny laugh.

"I do, I love my heels," she said.

"Jenny, why are you in Gibbs clothes?" Zach noticed.

"Because," she said and walked out. He got up and walked behind her, afraid he'd done something wrong. The bathroom door was closed, so he slumped down to the floor against it.

"Jenny?!" he yelled.

"Yeah?" she yelled back.

"I'm sorry!" Before he knew it, he was falling backwards. Jenny had opened the door and he happened to be leaning against it.

"What for?" Zach didn't make any attempts to get up, just remained lying flat on the floor.

"You seem upset," Zach said, making her smile warmly.

"No, sweetie, I'm not upset." She bent down and ruffled his hair. "Now, may I get dressed?"

"Go ahead," Zach said and didn't move an inch.

"Zach, get out," she said playfully and a lot of groaning and huffs and puffs on his part later, she closed the bathroom door.


Jenny walked down the stairs and heard something coming from her kitchen, so she decided that she would look there. She found Zach sitting at the kitchen island, a bowl in front of him. The milk stood next to the bowl; so did the cereal she forgot she even had.

"Y'know, these Froot Loops are way past their expiration date," Zach said as she approached.

"Then why are you eating them?" Jenny asked and turned on the coffee machine.

"Because you have nothing else and I'm hungry."

"Well, that's because Noemi usually goes shopping on Mondays," Jenny said, leaning against the counter and watching as he added more cereal to his milk. He noticed her staring.

"I need the perfect cereal-to-milk ratio. And who's Noemi?"

"She's my housekeeper."

"So, you don't go grocery shopping? Like ever?" Jenny thought about it that way and shook her head.

"Why not? It's fun!" At this Jenny laughed. Never in her life had she found grocery shopping 'fun'.

"I'll show you it's fun," Zach said determined.

"Alright. If it'll make you happy, I'll call Noemi and tell her we'll do the grocery shopping." Zach smiled gloriously.

"Do you have a straw?" he asked and Jenny rummaged through a drawer, finally producing one for Zach. He put it in his bowl and slurped all the milk away. He put the cereal and milk back to their original places and put the spoon and bowl in the sink.

"I'll go shower so we can go," he said and left, but then he walked back in.

"Which bathroom can I use?" Jenny laughed and guided him up the stairs.


A shower, a quick detour to Noemi's place for the grocery list and debate with her security later, Jenny was pushing a cart through the grocery store. Well, more like she was leaning on it and slowly going forward.

"Alright," Jenny said as Zach put the ham in the cart. "Milk." So they walked to the shelves containing milk and Zach was reaching for one when she stopped him.

"No, that's not the one. This is the one I drink." She reached and took two cartons of milk.

"But that one's gross. This one is delicious," he said, advertising the one in his hand.

"Well, first off, this morning you had the gross one and second, this is healthier."

"Well, first off, this morning I was hungry and second... I have no second," Zach said, frowning.

"I'll make you a deal, we'll take that one so when you're at my house, you don't have to drink the gross milk," Jenny said and the boy smiled, putting the carton of milk in the cart. They turned the corner to the next isle and Jenny groaned, ready to skip this one.

"No no, no no no." Zach said and pulled the cart into the isle.

"Zach, I never have this stuff in the house, anyway," Jenny said, but knew the boy wouldn't budge.

"Look, Oreo cookies!" He gasped. "Double Stuffed, my favorite!" He grabbed it and went to put it in the cart.

"No, Zach, that's why I didn't want to even come into this one, you'll get tempted," Jenny said, but already knowing she had lost.

"Pretty please? It's for when I come over," he said and turned the puppy dog eyes on her.

"Fine." And that's the way the Oreo's, the M&M's and the bag of candy that was supposedly for Halloween, made their way into her cart.

When they were at the cashier, she took an overall look at what she had bought and realized that she bought more than intended. She didn't mind, but she noticed that all the stuff she hadn't intended to buy was in some way related to Zach. From the milk to the burger patties to the new box of Froot Loop's.

As they were walking back to her car with the bags, Zach remembered the initial point of going grocery shopping.

"So, you have fun?" he asked. She smiled and nodded.

"Yes, although I think it has more to do with the company than the errand itself," she said making Zach smile. They loaded the groceries in the back.

Zach was about to get in into the passenger seat in the front, when Jenny stopped him.

"Nuh-uh. In the back, and I'm not budging on this one," Jenny said sternly. Zach saw her expression and didn't fight it, getting in the back instead. He put on his seatbelt, even though it wasn't necessary in the back. Jenny got in the driver's seat and started the car.

As they were pulling out of the parking lot, her phone begun to ring.

"Good morning, Jethro," she answered with a smile.

"Morning Jen. Where are you?" he said.

"There's a letter on my pillow," she said, taunting him.

"I don't have my glasses and your writing is small."

"We went grocery shopping." She looked at Zach trough the rear view mirror and saw him smiling.

"Since when do you go grocery shopping, Jen?"

"Since Zach suggested it."

"I was worried," he said softly and her breath hitched in her throat.

"Jethro, we're coming home now, we're already half-way there," she said sincerely. The last thing she had intended to do was worry him.

"What did he rope you into buying?" Gibbs asked on a lighter tone.

"A lot. Candy and that brand of milk you like," she said, shaking her head, as she could hear his smug grin.

"He's good," Gibbs said, instead.

"That he is." Zach felt that they were talking about him.

"Hey, stop talking about me!" he said loud enough for Gibbs to hear it, too.

"Well then I'll hang up," Jenny said with an amused grin.

"See you soon, Jen," Gibbs said and they both hung up.

Gibbs leaned back in bed and shook his head. Immediately, he felt his gut acting up. Something didn't feel right. He couldn't pinpoint what it was, but it was a feeling he had the day Shannon and Kelly got in that car. He became a little alarmed and hit redial, calling Jenny, even if she would mock him.

He couldn't stop the feeling of dread that passed through him when she didn't pick up.

Chapter Text

Gibbs grabbed his cell phone and hit speed dial #5.

"Pick up!" he said.

"McGee," he answered.

"McGee, are you up?" Gibbs barked.

"Yeah."

"Okay. Get me a location on the Director," he said.

"Everything okay, boss?"

"Just do it, McGee."

"I am! Sorry, boss. Um, she's on New York Avenue, but boss..."

"What is it, McGee?" Gibbs was really worried now.

"She's not moving."

"Call me as soon as she does," Gibbs said before he hung up. He quickly changed clothes and left, Zach's bag in his hand. He hopped into the car and started it, for the first time cursing the broken radio. He was driving worse than Ziva, to get to that road, when McGee called him.

"Boss, it's on the move," he said.

"Call me when it stops."

"Yes boss." Gibbs screeched to a stop next to a police cruiser. He got out of the car and almost forgot how to breathe. He saw that there were at least three cars involved in the crash. Jenny's car was the most badly beaten one, with the driver's side door completely crushed.

He flashed his badge to the officer standing, securing the perimeter.

"Who's in charge here?!" he yelled and a cop came walking towards him.

"Sir, you need to stand back," he said politely, but with a hint of a threat.

"I don't need to do anything." He held up his ID. "Gibbs, NCIS. What happened here?"

"Ah, yes, I apologize. Fredericks, Metro PD. Here's what we have so far. The first car was driving down the road, when the second car slammed in the back to create an ambush and then the third car slammed here." As he explained, Fredericks guided Gibbs along the cars and at the end of his phrase point to the point of impact, where the front of the third car slammed into the first car.

"Witnesses?" Gibbs asked, barely trying to keep his voice normal.

"One, he called 911. We arrived around the same time as the ambulance. One fatality, two injured." When he said this, Gibbs almost couldn't breathe. "Looks like the guy in the third car got what he deserved." Gibbs let out an audible sigh.

"One's missing," Gibbs said.

"Yes. According to our witness, the occupant of the second car got away. But, the airbag did inflate, so we've notified all hospitals in the area for patients coming in with air-pressure burns."

"Which hospital are they being brought to?" Gibbs asked, ready to call in his team and go to the hospital.

"Bethesda. We found Director Shepard's ID and thought it was best to take her and the boy there," the man explained and Gibbs was Abby, he would hug the man right now.

"I'll let my team follow up with you; we want to oversee the investigation. The Director's life is on stake here," Gibbs said.

"No problem Agent Gibbs." Gibbs walked away when his phone started ringing.

"Gibbs."

"Yeah, boss, it stopped moving. She's at—."

"Bethesda Naval Hospital. Good work McGee. Call Ziva and Tony and get down here to the crime scene."

"Boss?"

"The place her phone was at the beginning. Crime scene. Now." With that, Gibbs hung up.

"My team will be here," Gibbs said to the cop. "I'm gonna go to the hospital."

Gibbs walked to his car and sat there for a minute, breathing deeply. Inhale. Exhale. Then he started the car and drove like a maniac to the hospital.

He flashed his badge at the gate to the ER parking and the guard let him pass. Gibbs quickly found a place to park, as it wasn't really full, and got out, walking to the ER. But before he went inside, he leaned against the wall outside and took a few deep breaths. They weren't dead, no worries.

And then he walked in. Well—more like he stormed in. The nurse behind the counter visibly jumped, and was quickly pushed away by a more senior nurse, intending on dealing with this man.

"I'm here about Jenny Shepard and Zach Tanner," he said and the nurse shouldn't have looked in his eyes. She had a knack at reading people, and even though frustration was coming off the man in waves, there was something in his blue eyes that made her hesitate. She saw it as deep anguish and worry and she softened. He was here about the car crash victims.

"Agent Gibbs, I'm with NCIS," he said and showed her his badge. She had a feeling there was more to it, and decided that for once, she would tell him what she knew.

"Zach is the little boy brought in with her?" Gibbs nodded. "He's okay. He was unconscious when they pulled him out of the car. His arm is broken in two places and they're putting a cast on it now, luckily, he still hasn't woken up," she commented and saw his eyebrow raise in question.

"It really hurts, agent Gibbs. And he has a mild concussion. The doctor will probably suggest that he stay a few nights here." She paused to take a breath and saw him swallow.

"What about Jen?" he asked and damnit, why did his voice sound so hoarse?

"I don't know much. When they brought her in she was rushed into surgery. Sorry I can't tell you more," the nurse said sincerely and he knew she really didn't know anything else. "You can stay in the waiting room and as soon as I know something I'll let you know." Gibbs nodded distantly and turned to the waiting room. The moment he did he was waylaid by a flash of black and then he was crushed into one of the biggest Abby-hugs he'd ever experienced.

"Abigail, the man has to breathe," Ducky said from behind Abby. Abby quickly pulled away.

"Sorry, Gibbs. I didn't mean to suffocate you. But when you called Timmy I was so worried, and I was there, but that's not the point, and then he said the Director's phone was at Bethesda and I got so worried so then I tracked your phone and you were coming here, so I called Ducky, and we—."

"Abigail, you also need to breathe," Ducky reminded her, mid-rant.

"So, what did the doctor say?" Abby asked.

"I didn't talk to a doctor, but a nurse told me Zach's arm is broken and Jen's in surgery." They were gonna enter the waiting room, but that same nurse who Gibbs talked to, called out to him.

"Agent Gibbs!" He did a sharp 180-degree turn and walked to the nurse's station.

"Yes." She had a faint smile on her face.

"I was just called, you can go see your son. He was taken to the Children's Ward, fifth floor," she said and Gibbs visibly relaxed. The nurse noticed that he didn't even bother to correct her conscious mistake.

"Thank you," Gibbs said to her sincerely and her heart warmed, knowing she had made him feel just the tiniest bit better. Gibbs hesitated at the stairs.

"Go, Jethro, we'll stay here in case they know something."

"Thanks Duck." The elevators opened and Gibbs got in, pressing the button for the fifth floor. He waited patiently as other people got it, started tapping his foot when they all pressed a different floor button, started looking at his watch when the doors would open at every floor and then it finally got to the fifth floor.

He saw a sign that said Children's Ward and big arrow, so he followed it. He almost flinched at the sight of the bright yellow walls and hoped that inside the rooms were not the same colors.

He walked to the Nurses' Station and a nurse turned to him with a giant smile, almost making him flinch again.

"In what room is Zach Tanner?"

"5014, it's right over there. I'll send the doctor," she said and turned back around. Gibbs walked to the door she pointed at and softly opened it. He entered and saw three beds, all three containing boys. Zach was on the one the closest to him. The one in the middle had a boy of about 8, with his mom sitting at the foot of the bed. The boy was wide awake and was staring at Gibbs. On the third bed was a ten-year-old. His mom and dad were sitting on chairs next to the bed.

Gibbs walked over to Zach's bed and gently sat down on the edge, as there was no chair. Zach's eyes slowly opened and he immediately sat up.

"Gibbs!" The boy hugged him as best as he could.

"Shh, Zach, it's okay," he said in a soothing voice and tried to coax the boy into lying back down.

"But, we were in the car and then another car. Where's Jenny?!" he suddenly asked, panicked. "Is she dead?"

"No, Zach, she's not dead, she's here in this hospital."

"But is she okay? Gibbs, she screamed and there was a lot of blood, I remember it and there was glass everywhere," he continued in a distressed voice. Gibbs could feel the others' eyes on them and turned to give them all a good glare, making them shy away.

"Zach, calm down. It's all gonna be ok, but you need to calm down. The doctor's coming in right now to talk to us." Zach held up his right arm.

"It broke," he said simply, which in turn, made Gibbs chuckle.

The door opened and there stood a woman with blonde hair in her early-thirties, wearing a lab coat, much like Abby wears her, rolled up at the sleeves. She scanned the room and walked towards Zach and Gibbs. She smiled.

"Good afternoon. I'm doctor Samantha Sanders," she said and stuck out her hand for Gibbs to shake. She transferred the file in her left hand to her right and stuck out her left hand to Zach, who smiled and shook it with his left hand.

"Call me Sam," she said. "So, you are Zach Tanner?" Zach nodded.

"And you are?" She turned to Gibbs.

"His legal guardian. Agent Gibbs," he stated simply. The doctor turned back to Zach.

"How are you feeling, Zach?" she asked, opening his file.

"Worried." She smiled at this.

"Physically?"

"I have a head ache. And my arm's broken," Zach stated simply.

"Well, yes I noticed. You have a few cuts on your arms and face, caused by broken glass. And your hand is broken in two places. You have a mild concussion that explains the head-ache. It should go over soon, because we're gonna put you on some meds for the pain in your arm that should also relieve your head ache. Are you allergic to anything?" Zach nodded.

"Penicillin," he said and Sam wrote that down in his file. "Okay. Any questions?"

"Do I have to take pills?" Zach asked and scrunched his face up a bit.

"No. We'll administer the medication through your IV line. Anything else?"

"How long am I gonna stay locked up here?" At this Sam chuckled.

"I want to keep you here two nights, just to make sure you're ok. But you are allowed to walk around and visit the kids' playroom, as long as you don't overdo it." She smiled at the boy, who didn't smile back. She was about to go to the next boy, when Gibbs stopped her.

"When can he go to school?" Gibbs asked. She thought for a moment.

"Maybe next week if he's feeling good, if not then until he feels strong enough." Gibbs nodded. "So... Agent Gibbs, agent in what, exactly?" she asked.

"NCIS," Gibbs said simply.

"What is that?"

"Naval Criminal Investigative Service." He seemed completely oblivious to her attraction to him, so she said goodbye and walked to the next patient. Gibbs sat back down on the bed.

"I don't like her," Zach whispered.

"Why are we whispering?"

"Because she's still in the room."

"Why don't you like her?" Gibbs whispered.

"She likes you," Zach screamed in the whispering voice. Gibbs did a double-take. What?He hadn't even noticed.

"And why does that bother you?" Gibbs asked, wanting to rope it out of the kid.

"Because you love Jenny," Zach scream-whispered again. Gibbs smiled.

"Who told you that?" Zach seemed to take a moment at this.

"Your body language." He smiled victoriously, making Gibbs shake his head.

"Gibbs..." Zach started but trailed off.

"Yes Zach." Zach reached under the blankets and produced Jenny's Blackberry.

"Since when did you have this?"

"Since the car. I took a picture with it this morning and I wanted to show it to her. So I got in between the seats and she looked and then the car hit us from the back. Then she told me to get down, but my arm was a little late." He held up his right hand. "I was scared." Gibbs passed his hand through the boy's hair.

"It's okay," he said and Zach hugged him. Gibbs felt his phone vibrating in his pocket and quickly fished it out.

"Gibbs," he answered.

"Jethro, I've been informed that Jennifer just got out of surgery. I've already sent Abby up to stay with Zach. Take the elevator to the second floor," Ducky said. Gibbs took a deep breath.

"Thanks Duck."

"Jenny?" Zach asked and Gibbs nodded. "Abby's coming?" Again Gibbs nodded. "Go."

"You sure?" Zach nodded. "Alright. When I come back, I'll bring your backpack." Zach smiled. Gibbs got up, and then the door opened to reveal Abby.

"Zach!" She ran over to the bed, unbeknownst to her that all eyes were watching her. She hugged Zach lightly. She turned to Gibbs.

"What are you still doing here? Go find out what happened to the Director!" Abby snapped and Gibbs quickly left.


When the elevator doors opened, Gibbs stepped out and spotted Ducky.

"Duck." Ducky turned to Gibbs and handed him a cup of coffee.

"Jethro, they told me a doctor should come out to talk to us soon," Ducky said and as he said this, two surgeons in scrubs walked out a set of double doors. One of the men read a chart.

"Family for Jennifer Shepard?" he said and looked around expectantly.

"Us," Gibbs said and walked to the two, Ducky right behind him.

"Right. And you are?"

"Her husband," Gibbs blurted out, before he had even processed those words in his head.

"Okay. I'm Doctor Adams, this is my colleague, Doctor Townsend." He nodded his head at the surgeon standing a little behind him. "Your wife sustained a lot of injuries. Our two main concerns were internal bleeding and a shard of metal that passed between her ribs, but punctured a lung. We managed to take out the shard of metal, and then we went to try and stop the bleeding. She flat-lined on the table, but we revived her and stopped the bleeding, although she did receive a blood transfusion. Her arm is also in a sling, because of a dislocated shoulder. Besides that, she has some minor cuts and bruises." Gibbs looked completely in shock at the words the doctor was saying to him. "But, we expect that she'll make a full recovery." Gibbs' coffee almost fell out of his hand in relief.

"Can I see her?" he asked and the man nodded.

"Yes. She's been taken to her private room, but she's still unconscious. When she's awake, tell the nurse to page me or Dr. Townsend to check up on her." Gibbs nodded. The other doctor walked up to him and handed him a piece of paper. 3407.

"It's her room number. Third floor."

"Thank you," Gibbs said and decided that he'd said that a lot today. Ducky stayed, talking to the doctors.


Abby had brought Bert, and Zach was hugging it to him. The hippo kept farting, much to the amusement of the two, and the other occupants' curiosities were piqued. Gibbs walked in and Zach dropped Bert.

"How's Jenny?" he asked.

"Out of surgery. It's a little bad, but the doctor said she'll be okay." Both Abby and Zach's shoulders relaxed. Gibbs' hand appeared from behind it, holding Zach's backpack, making the boy smile. Gibbs set it down in front of him and watched as he searched through it.

"I'm gonna go see Jenny, you two okay here?" Both nodded.


Gibbs stood in the doorway of her room. She was lying on the bed, and she looked so small and fragile in it. She looked even paler than she did before. Her hair was sprawled on the pillow next to her. He walked in and quietly closed the door behind him. As he neared her, he could see the steady rise and fall of her chest. He stood towering over her, took her free hand in his, gently rolling his thumb over the smooth skin. He brought her hand up to his lips and pressed a small, soft kiss to her knuckles. He noticed her left shoulder in a sling. With his free hand, Gibbs let his knuckles caress her cheek and smiled when she unconsciously leaned into his touch. He heard her moan and saw her eyes flutter.

"Jen..." he said softly and her eyes slowly opened. "Hi." He could see the sparkle in her gorgeous green eyes. He could see the smile in them, but then she whimpered.

"Are you in pain?" he asked worriedly and she nodded. "I'll get the nurse." Her hand shot out and clamped around his wrist. He turned to her.

"Jethro..." He wasn't sure if she had really said it out loud, or it was his imagination, but he had seen her mouth form his name. "What happened?" Her voice was really gruff.

"You don't remember?" She shook her head. "You were in a car accident."

"Zach?" she asked, eyes wild.

"He's okay. His arm is just broken." She smiled and calmed down a little. She closed her eyes for a second.

"I need to get the doctor," Gibbs urged. She nodded, so he left and quickly returned. "Nurse said he's coming." Her eyes closed again for a brief second. "If you have to sleep, don't mind me."

She shook her head. "Don't wanna," she said, and her voice was losing some of its hoarseness. "Tell me something?" she asked softly, eyes pleading.

"We're married." Her eyes went wide and her mouth fell open.

"What?!"

"I lied to your doctor to get information about your condition." She smiled a little and shook her head in exasperation. He smiled that half-smile she had grown to love and found so cute, a word in itself that she never thought she'd use to describe Jethro Gibbs. With her left hand she patted on the space on the bed next to her body. Gibbs did not sit down. She patted again, her eyes speaking volumes.

"I don't want to hurt you," he said.

"Gibbs, sit down. Now." And even though it was said in a soft voice, not at all threatening, but her eyes were doing the job her tone couldn't. He sat down on the edge and she smiled. Gibbs leaned forward and pressed a soft kiss to her forehead, making her eyes flutter close for an entirely new reason.

And then there was a knock on the door, right before it opened to reveal Dr. Townsend.

"Hi, am I interrupting?" he asked, both adults shaking their heads. "Director Shepard, I'm doctor Townsend. How are you feeling?"

"Good. And call me Jenny." The doctor looked a little stunned.

"Good, you're already pretty articulate, which is very good." He marked it down on her chart.

The doctor explained everything, in detail, to Jenny and Gibbs, while her hand was holding firmly onto his.

"Any questions?" Dr. Townsend asked.

"How long do I have to stay in the hospital? And then at home?"

"We want to keep you here about ten nights, to make sure the wound heals nicely and to reassure that the internal bleeding has completely stopped. And I'm sorry to say that you've been placed on bed rest. Also, when you leave the hospital, bed rest for two weeks, and then two more weeks at home. So, I think it's safe to say that for at least the next month, no work." Jenny's mouth hung slightly open, and Gibbs pushed it closed with an amused smirk on his face.

She's never going to survive.

Jenny couldn't believe it; she loved her job and enjoyed it thoroughly. And now she was being told she couldn't go to work for a month.
I'm never gonna survive.

"Remember to rest," were Dr. Townsend's last words before he left. Gibbs smirked at Jenny's crestfallen face. He knew the no work-thing was gonna hit hard. He kept watching her until she yawned.

"You need to sleep," he admonished gently. She shook her head. He pulled back the blankets on the bed, shrugged off his shoes and slipped into the bed on her good side. She leaned her head on his shoulder. His hand was massaging her scalp and it was that, combined with his steady breath that lulled her into a deep slumber.

Chapter Text

After she had fallen asleep, Gibbs subtly slipped out from under her, making sure she lay correctly and not hurt her. He pressed a kiss to her forehead and then softly left.


Lieutenant Hallie Kingston was never a woman of gossip. Her eight-year-old son was admitted to the hospital after needing an emergency appendectomy a week prior, and was slowly getting better. She was sitting by her son's side when a boy was brought in. His arm was in a cast and there was a bandage on his other arm. She had heard the nurses talking, and concluded that he was in a car crash. She didn't really pay much more attention, until his legal guardian came in. She thought that had been weird, until a young woman wearing all black with platform boots and a man wearing suspenders and a bow tie came in. They stayed with him as the man, Agent Gibbs she heard, left. The woman was a really light soul and the man had an accent. For a while Gibbs and the other man left, and the man came back first. Then Agent Gibbs came back, and the woman and man left again.


"How is she?" Zach asked as soon as he woke up to find Gibbs in a chair beside his bed.

"She was awake for a while. She's gonna be ok," Gibbs said and saw as Zach slumped down a bit. And then he straightened and crawled off the bed.

"Where you going?"

"Bathroom," he replied simply and dragged the IV pole behind him. Gibbs grabbed his cell phone and called.

"DiNozzo," Tony answered.

"Tony, what've you got?" he ordered.

"We got the cars to the garage, McGee stayed to inspect the tread-marks and such. Ziva took the witness' statement, and he's in NCIS Conference room, willing to help out. Now me and Ziva are digging into the background of the dead guy."

"So, you've got nothing?" Gibbs asked irritated.

"That would be correct ," Tony said flat-out.

"I'll send Abby to help with evidence of the cars."

"Okay... eh, boss, how are they doing? I saw the damage to the Director's car, it was pretty bad," Tony asked, hesitantly at first.

"They're both okay, they should be just fine."

"That's good news boss."

"Yes. And Tony?"

"Yeah boss?"

"Find that other driver!" he said in an angry voice, before ending the call. Zach walked back into the room.

"I wanna see Jenny," he stated, but Gibbs shook his head.

"No, not today, tomorrow."

"What room is she in?"

"Three-four-oh-seven." Zach yawned lightly, and as Gibbs looked out the window, he noticed it was already dark.

"You gonna go to sleep, kiddo?" he asked as Zach went back under the covers. He nodded. Gibbs looked around the room and noticed that the other boy, the eight-year-old was already asleep, and the ten-year-old was getting there. Zach yawned and put his head on the pillow.

"When you fall asleep, I'll go home and grab some things for you, okay? Anything specifically you want?" Gibbs asked softly, but firm, so Zach wouldn't fall asleep while he was talking.

"My iPod. I left it on the table in the living room. And can you bring the pillows from my bed? These are lumpy," he commented, making Gibbs nod.

"Goodnight Zach," Gibbs said softly, allowing him to fall asleep.

"Don't forget Jenny's things," was the last thing Zach said before falling into a deep sleep. Gibbs had to smile at his words. He got up and stood by the door, looking back for a while and then leaving.


Gibbs was a man on a mission. He didn't want to leave the hospital, but he had to get some clothes for Zach and Jenny. First he raced home and bounded up the stairs, grabbing his old duffel bag. The first thing he stuffed in it was the two pillows Zach used from the spare room. He opened some drawers and took out the clothes Zach would need for staying in the hospital a few days. He also grabbed his sweater, because hard as he tried, Gibbs saw Zach shiver in coldness when he got out from under the covers. He put his toothbrush and toothpaste in a Ziploc and threw it in the duffel bag. He saw a stack of movies in the corner and took the top three and put them in the filling bag. When he got his pajamas, he concluded that he had everything, he just had to snatch the iPod from the living room and he was done.

In a moment of brightness, he decided to take a bag with him, knowing he was gonna practically live in the hospital the next few days. So he quickly gathered some clothes and put them in another bag. He took the two bags downstairs and put them in the car. He walked back and picked up the iPod and then he left.

He drove across town to Jenny's house. He searched through his keys and found the key with the label 'Jen Shepard' and opened the front door. He breathed in deeply, loving the way the house smelled like the cinnamon shampoo she used, vanilla (from her candles) and another faint smell. A smell he knew all too well, it was her personal smell. He couldn't describe it, but it was overwhelming and it was one of his favorite smells in the world, in a tie with how she smelled after sex, but that was not something he was gonna think about now.

He went up the stairs and found a duffel bag similar to the one he owns, albeit bigger. He walked into her closet, and the bag was filled with sweat pants, shirts, sweat shirts and a sweater. He looked for a decent pair of shoes under the mountain of heels, finally having located a pair of flats and a pair of flip flops, which he put in the bag. He blindly grabbed underwear for her and then walked to the bathroom. He packed the most obvious things: toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, her glasses and her lotion. He wasn't sure if he should take any cosmetics with him, but he saw a small travel-bag and he took that. And then he moved on to the hardest part. What was she gonna do? He knew she liked to read, so he took the small pile of books next to her bed, but that was about it. She didn't really have much free time on her hands nowadays and he honestly didn't know what she would do with her time except reading. Except he vaguely remembered that she once told him that a person could not read books the whole way. He decided to try and look in her study, maybe finding something there. And he did. He saw two portable DVD players (wondering why she had two in the first place) and smiled. Perfect. One for Zach and one for her. He saw her laptop case and took that, but she would have to promise him she wouldn't work, something he knew was gonna be a big debate. He saw a few DVD's and took those, too.

Well, if she wanted something specifically, she would just have to ask him, he decided, because it was useless trying to figure out something for her to do. He quickly thought back to what Zach said and had an epiphany. He ran back up the stairs and into her bedroom, picking up her two, throw pillows and stuffing it with the rest of the stuff in the duffel. He smiled and went back downstairs and left, locking up behind him.


Gibbs entered the dark room softly and immediately knew something was off. When he neared, he saw the problem. Zach was not in the bed. He checked the bathroom, but found it, too, empty. He walked back out and to the Nurses' Station.

"Where's Zach?"

"I just checked the rooms, I think he's in the bathroom," the nurse said to him.

"It's empty." He had a fleeting thought and his gut agreed. He thought it was wrong—he was just there—but knowing from past experience, he went there anyway.


Jenny was sleeping soundly, when she felt the covers being pulled back. Thinking it was Gibbs, she moved a little to the side to give him more space, and was pleasantly surprised by someone much smaller. Zach, she thought. He pulled the blankets back over them and snuggled up to her. She slowly woke and her suspicions were confirmed; it was Zach. She passed her hand through his hair as he slowly drifted to sleep.

A few minutes later, the door opened again, this time revealing Gibbs.

"Hi," she said, letting him know she was awake.

"You should be sleeping," he berated lightly.

"I was, but I just keep getting interrupted." She smiled lazily. He went over and sat down on the side Zach wasn't occupying.

"Can we talk?" she said.

"You want to talk now?" She nodded.

"There won't be any other time, there's a lesser chance we'll get interrupted." Gibbs slowly nodded and let her continue. "I'm not sure I made the right decision six years ago," Jenny said and Gibbs stiffened slightly. "Career-wise, it was a good judgment."

"But," Gibbs said, filling it in for her.

"I never even listened to my heart until it was too late."

"And now?"

"My heart still wants the same thing, but I'm too scared."

"Why, Jen?" he asked, intrigued.

"I'm afraid that I'll hurt you again," she said softly, breaking away from his steely gaze. For a moment, Gibbs was frozen by her words. "And why would you even want to take me ba—."

"Don't ever say that, Jen, because it's the furthest from the truth," Gibbs growled lowly.

"No, Gibbs, I'm serious. There's no guarantee I won't hurt you again. I don't want you to get hurt, and I know you did just by my little get-up-and-leave act this morning," she said with firmness in her tone. "So sorry if I don't want to dive head first into this."

"That's true. But I think that once you've taken the plunge, we'll be okay," he said and she quieted down and calmed just by hearing him talk about it. "I think we both know what damage it's done, and what we can do to prevent it. Because Jen, I still want you and I'll never stop loving you." Tears welled up in her eyes, not just because of his last words, but because he was opening up to her, he was raw and bare and vulnerable and trusting her not to hurt him a second time.

"I'll do my best," she said. He pressed a kiss under both her eyes and then kissed her. "I love you, Jethro Gibbs."

"Thank you," Gibbs said and if that arm wasn't in the sling, she would've mock-punched him.

"Jethro!" she said half-heartedly.

"I love you too, Jennifer Shepard." He sat back and watched her with a smile. Her hand disengaged itself from in Zach's hair and grabbed Gibbs by his collar, roughly pulling him to her, sending his lips crashing against hers in a heated kiss. His hand buried itself in her silky red curls as he tilted her face a bit up. When they pulled away, he hung his head in the crook of her neck, pressing a small kiss to her collarbone.

"I'll be right back," he promised and reluctantly left, returning ten minutes later.

"Where did you go?" she whispered, as Zach stirred a bit.

"To tell the nurse in the Children's Ward I found Zach. He had just wandered off; it was probably his plan all along." Gibbs shrugged. Jenny turned on her good side, so there was still space behind her for Gibbs to slip in, and he did. He lay firmly behind her with an arm around her waist. It was tight, but all three fit in the bed and soon the only sounds to be heard were those of peaceful sleep.

Chapter Text

"Jethro, I'm bored," Jenny whined.

"You said that exactly five minutes ago. And five minutes before that." Gibbs said, not looking up from a magazine.

"But I'm still bored." He sighed and finally looked up, as she smiled in happiness that he was finally paying attention.

"You have your books," Gibbs pointed out.

"These," she said and motioned to the pile of books. "Are not the ones I want. The ones I read are in my closet. They are in a brown moving box. The books are all covered." Jenny looked at him pointedly when he didn't answer.

"Why are they in a box in your closet?"

"Just because, Jethro. Could you get them for me, please?" Jenny asked.

"What's the difference between these books and those at your house?" Gibbs asked.

"One day, when we're back at home, I'll read one to you," Jenny promised. Gibbs looked weary, but acquiesced.

"Alright. Anything else?" Gibbs asked. She shook her head and he advanced on her. He leaned down and gave her a kiss, right before leaving.


"Morning Abs," Gibbs said walking into Abby's lab with a Caf-Pow! The Goth whirled around to look at him.

"Gibbs!" She gave him a quick hug. "We got a lot of evidence from the car. Whoever did it didn't think about cleaning her car."

"Her? It a 'she', Abs?"

"Yes indeed. With brown hair and split ends. From the roots of the hair I found some DNA, waiting for a match."

"Nice goin' Abs," Gibbs said and handed her the Caf-Pow!, ready to leave.

"Not done, Gibbs!" Abby said exasperated. Gibbs turned back. "The plates on the second and third vehicle were stolen, and so were the cars actually. But from the Crime Scene photos and our sketches and Ducky's autopsy report from what we know about Jenny and Zach's injuries, I made a computer re-creation of the crash." She clicked a few buttons and it started. Jenny's car driving, the second car slamming behind it, sending it forward, where the third car ran right into it. In slow motion, you saw the four different 'victims'. The third-car driver launched forward, hitting his head on the windshield.

"The dead guy wasn't wearing a seatbelt, I concluded, because no way a seatbelt would've let his head hit the glass, and Ducky agreed. He was brain-dead. Now, the Director probably saw the car coming and curled up, well, more like she turned her back to the door while cringing her upper body together. Now, Zach's injury I don't get."

"He said he was showing Jenny something when the car hit."

"Yes, that makes sense, if his arm was in between the seats..." Abby typed some things. She smiled when she saw the right position. "Okay, now to the second car driver. The airbag deflated, so the person has heat-burns on her face and maybe her arms, too."

"Already knew that, Abs," Gibbs said impatiently.

"I know, Gibbs. But you can't ever get right to the good stuff, like a soap opera, you need to slowly build up the momentum, and you just killed mine, so—."

"Abby!"

"Oh, sorry! I noticed the seat was very close to the steering wheel. So, you're probably looking at a short person. But judging by impact and such, her arm must be broken."

"Because she was so close to the steering wheel?"

"Very good, Gibbs! You're catching on!" Gibbs turned to go again.

"Gi-hibbs! Not. Done. Yet," Abby sing-songed. "I think this car was long in possession of the driver, because I found a nice boot print where you would put your idle left foot. The car is automatic, so no clutch, meaning left foot bored. There was also a weird substance that Major Mass Spec chewed over and it came up as mangrove, a type of tree that's roots grows in water, but can grow out of it. It was the sap of it, which you would get by snapping a branch of the tree. I'm working on getting the list of places mangrove grows in DC. The boot is a Dr. Martens 7A70 Scanner 5-Eye Boot. It is commonly used by the Red Cross. I'm working with them for the list of volunteers and blood samples, because most of them are blood donors anyway. I'll cross check them with the DNA and addresses. And now I'm done," Abby said and took a long sip of the Caf-Pow! Gibbs kissed her cheek.

"Good work Abs," he said before leaving.


Gibbs walked into the bullpen and was surprised by the fact that nobody was there. Suddenly he heard a bunch of voices, and then a DiNozzo-squeak—it had been named so, because when Ziva would hurt Tony he would make a weird sound crossing between speaking and squealing, only something he could manage—and then some laughing. He looked up to see Ziva, Tony and McGee coming down the stairs. McGee was the first to spot Ziva.

"Hey boss!" he greeted dutifully.

"Hello Gibbs," Ziva said.

"Psh! You think you can fool me like that?! Impossi—oh, hey boss!" Gibbs tried to withhold a smile when Ziva punched him in the stomach, albeit soft.

"What've you got?"

"Our witness is feeling very anxious. He wants to help badly. It seems he feels guilty, not having had time to warn Jenny or something of that existent."

"Existent? Extent, Ziva, extent!" Tony said in mock frustration, stopping when both Gibbs and Ziva glared at him.

"McGee, driver, go!" Gibbs said and McGee grabbed the remote to the plasma.

"Stanley Heinze, 34. Born in California, grew up all-around. Florida, New York, Louisiana, Texas, Washington State, before attending University of California. Majored in—."

"Physics. Took a teaching job at UCF, University of Central Florida. He got fired when accused of raping a girl. It was proven a false accusation, but they did not re-hire him. He was homeless, somehow ended up in DC," Tony took over.

"I got that. His father was a business man, killed by an American soldier. His mother and his father's funeral were here, in DC. Stayed here ever since. He has a rap sheet, misdemeanors, mostly petty theft. He quieted down a while and got a job at PR office, as a janitor. I called the firm, turns out one day he didn't show up and they haven't seen him ever since." Gibbs nodded.

"There's more, boss," Tony said. "Two years ago he was charged with battery and assault. He beat his ex-girlfriend almost into a coma."

"Okay. Known associates?"

"Seven, Harold Tecklenberg, Carol-Ann Larson, Jason Larson, Amanda Tyson, Irma Flint, Patrick Salmow and M.S. Kick, a woman," Ziva added at the end.

"Harold Tecklenberg, born and raised in The Netherlands. He's there now, has been for three weeks, I checked immigration. Did some time for assault," Tony said.

"Carol-Ann Larson, native of Albuquerque. I could not reach her, but I called her work and they said she was in everyday for the past four days. She is a part-time bartender and a student. Did time for prostitution," Ziva said.

"Jason Larson, brother of Carol-Ann Larson, also a native of Albuquerque. Was also charged with prostitution. I couldn't reach him," McGee said.

"Amanda Tyson. Low-level model in Miami, born in Tampa. I called her, but she never picked up. She got caught charged with possession with intent to distribute," Ziva said.

"Irma Flint. New York City girl, born there, grew up there and in Seattle, in intervals of two years. Manslaughter and battery. She was on an airplane at the time of the accident, on her way from the Big Apple to Seattle," Tony said.

"Patrick Salmow. Got busted once for possession, and after that a few times for smuggling. He has lived in DC for the most part of his life, with the exception of one year in Oregon. He used to work at the same firm as Heinze. He's still there," McGee said.

"And lastly, M.S. Kick. Mary Sue Kick," Ziva said and Tony snorted. "What again Tony?"

"It's basically how people live. Marry, Sue and Kick." Tony was laughing, until Gibbs slapped his head and he stood up straight.

"Mary Sue Kick lives here in DC. She used to be a lawyer but got disbarred after leaking information. She then got hired by the same PR firm Heinze and Salmow. I called her, and she had an alibi, but she will stop by after work," Ziva said.

"Alright. Good work. Now, get me the Larson siblings, Tyson and Salmow!" Gibbs said, before walking out again.

"Gibbs!" Ziva yelled after him. He turned back.

"What is it?"

"Who is going to be the acting Director? And when can we see Jenny?" Ziva asked.

"I have to talk to her about that, and as soon as you find out who the hell did this." And with that, he left.


Gibbs had been searching everywhere. And then he finally spotted that damn box. How was he expected to see it? It was practically buried by her heels. He went to lift it up, but it was very heavy. He opened the lid, and books were lined to the top. He also saw her camera bag, recognizing it instantly. He took that, too, and put it on top of the now closed box. He resolutely walked out.


She was watching TV with Zach next to her, when she heard a loud 'thud'. Both she and Zach turned to the source of the sound, and she saw a brown box sitting next to the doorway.

"I really hope it's this box," Gibbs said.

"It is. And what is that?" she asked, amused, at the dark-green bag, with its strap flung over his shoulder.

"Your camera," Zach and Gibbs said at the same time, and both adults turned to look at him. Zach smiled harmlessly, and shrugged his shoulders.

"Lemme see," Jenny said, and took the bag from him. She undid the clip that held it closed and took the camera out. She took off the lens and aimed the camera at Zach, who stuck his tongue out. She clicked a few times, and every time, he changed his face to one more absurd than the last. Jenny laughed when she looked at the pictures, but stilled as soon as she had gone one too far. Zach bit his lip. Gibbs saw Jenny's mood change and went to stand behind her, surprised at the picture that decorated the screen. They shared a glance, before turning on Zach, who was looking around, feigning interest in the furniture.

"Zach?" Jenny said softly and turned the camera so he would see the picture. When he glimpsed at the picture, his face grew into a slow, deliberate smile.

"Cute," he said offhandedly.

"You took it?" Gibbs asked and Zach looked away, nodding slowly. Jenny smiled and looked at it.

"It was just too cute. I couldn't help it..." Zach said, defending himself.

"It's okay, Zach," Jenny said, but Zach kept his eyes on Gibbs. He shrugged and waved it off, making the boy smile. Jenny was looking through her old photographs.

"Gosh, this seems like so long ago, when I last took a picture," she mused.

"You took one no more than two minutes ago, Jen," Gibbs said with a smirk.

"You know what I mean Jethro... Oh, look!" She showed him the camera. It was the picture of Gibbs Zach had seen. Jenny tilted the camera a bit for Gibbs to see.

"Where was that?" Gibbs asked, and sat down behind Jenny.

"Paris. Before, I uh..." She trailed off, not wanting to say it.

"It's okay, Jen, you can say it."

"Before I left. A few days before. We were in that little café around the corner of the place we stayed. You got whipped cream all over your face, but I was too slow to get my camera and only managed to take an after-picture." Gibbs smiled as he recalled that memory. Zach was watching blatant interest at the couple in front of him.

"Zach, what are you doing here?" Gibbs asked, snapping him out of his reverie.

"Visiting Jenny," he said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "Oh! I almost forgot!" Zach dug around his pocket and produced a green and a black Sharpie. "Sign my cast?" He handed the green one to Jenny and the black one to Gibbs and held up his right arm. They both signed it, making the boy very happy.

"Zach, you should be in the Children's Ward," Gibbs reprimanded lightly, remembering again.

"But Jenny's on bed rest, so she can't come to me, so I come to her. Besides, don't I get out tomorrow?"

"Maybe. I think she might change her mind if you're wandering around visiting people," Gibbs said, skeptically, but Zach took it the wrong way.

"Really? You think she'd let me leave earlier?" His eyes nearly bugged out of his head.

"No, I don't. Ten more minutes," Gibbs said.

"Thirty."

"Fifteen."

"Twenty-nine."

"Sixteen."

"Twenty-eight."

"Twenty minutes," Gibbs said and the boy nodded.

"Deal." Jenny merely laughed at the boys' antics.

"So, who is your doctor?" she asked. And by the look of his scrunched up face, she hit something.

"Some Sam lady. She likes Gibbs. I don't like her." Zach had crossed his arms across his chest.

"So I see." Jenny glanced amused at Gibbs. He could see her eyes sparkling with mock, and he was sure she would tease him later. "Why don't you like her?"

"Because she likes Gibbs."

"But why?" Jenny pressed. She knew the answer. She knew Gibbs knew the answer. But she still wanted to hear it.

"Because Mommy and Daddy should be together, not Daddy with some doctor-lady," Zach said, and both adults' smiles widened substantially.

"It's okay, Zach," Jenny whispered low, and had the pleasure of seeing Zach's face go from jealousy, to confusing, to understanding, to happiness.

"Really?!" he whisper-screamed. Both nodded. His smile nearly split his face in half. "Abby is gonna love this." Jenny blanched. If Abby knew, the whole world would know in a matter of minutes. She wasn't ashamed of her re-discovered relationship with Jethro, she just didn't want the whole world knowing about. She was a very private person, and didn't like to mix business with pleasure. Albeit she already broke that rule by dating Jethro. She didn't want it to get out of hand. And plus, she wasn't quite ready to face SecNav just yet.

"Don't tell Abby," Jenny said, in a pleading voice. Zach picked up on it and smiled.

"Okay." They talked until Zach's time was over, and he reluctantly said goodbye to Jenny—whispering in her ear that he'd come the next day—and went back to the Children's Ward, where Gibbs had told him what he heard. And yet, regardless of the warning he had gotten, the next day Zach snuck out of his section of the hospital, making his way over to hers.

"I miss school," Zach said. He and Jenny were lying on her bed. Jenny turned to face him, and he squirmed up to get on her eyelevel.

"Really?" she asked surprised.

"Not school, just the friends I see there." Zach shrugged.

"Tell me about them," Jenny urged, a smile gracing her lips.

"I have a best friend, Jason. And then there's Camden, Billy, Eddie and Johnny."

"No girls?" Jenny inquired.

"Just two. Twin sisters. Becky and Annie." Zach blushed pink at the last word.

"Zachary Alexander Tanner," Jenny said playfully. "Do you have a crush on Annie?" The boy's eyes went wide, and he shook his head fervently, albeit the bright red of his cheeks and ears completely contradicted it. "Honey, it's okay if you do." Zach cuddled closer to Jenny. She heard the sound of a camera going off and looked up, seeing Gibbs holding her camera and flaunting an impish grin. She smiled and shook her head.


"Kick is clean, her employers said she was a sit-in at a meeting," McGee said when Gibbs walked into the bull pen.

"The Larsons are here, in DC. They were spotted not too far away from where the accident happened. We haven't been able to track them down yet," Tony said.

"Amanda Tyson is clean. She was in New York City, doing a photoshoot. Photographer confirmed it," Ziva said.

"And what about him, Patrick Salmow?" Gibbs asked, pointing to the picture of the man on the plasma.

"We can't find him. It's like he disappeared off the face of the earth," Tony said. Abby came walking in.

"How much do you all love me?" she asked, with a smile on her face.

"Depends," Gibbs said and her face fell.

"Aww, Gibbs, I'm hurt. I found Salmow."

"I love you very much, Abs," Gibbs said. "Now tell me what 'cha got."

"Patrick Salmow, 39. He lived in DC most of his life, except for one year in Oregon—."

"Already knew that, Abby," Gibbs said, impatiently. She merely rolled her eyes.

"I have more. Except for one year, where he was in Oregon and three years Florida. Guess what? The years he was in Florida, Heinze taught at UCF. He was a janitor there. Then he came back to DC. He hasn't ever left the country. He was a Janitor at the PR firm before Heinze. According to their co-workers, they were very close. And that's when I found the juice. Heinze's father wasn't a business man. He used to own a pharmacy. That pharmacy was one of the three pharmacies in DC suspected of being a cover-up."

"Cover-up for what?"

"Drugs. Guess who was the manager at that pharmacy?" Abby asked excitedly.

"Salmow," all four said in unison.

"Good work, Abs," Gibbs said.

"Gibbs! This is getting really annoying, I'm not done yet," Abby said. "This is where the Larsons come in. Carol-Ann Larson was at the Albuquerque Library at the time. I hacked into their security cameras." Abby grinned. "Jason Larson was in jail when the accident happened."

"What?" Tony asked.

"Well, I got a cop from Albuquerque PD on the phone. The day before, Larson and another guy got into a bar fight. It was initiated by Larson, so they decided to lock him up for a day." Abby shrugged. She watched as everybody digested the information.

"I was bored and done with evidence, which by the way, Gibbs, the DNA didn't match anybody. So when I heard that your people found nothing, I got worried and thought I'd help, cause I could hack into stuff and I wanted to find the guy that did this to the Director, like really, really bad. And I hope—."

"You said 'this is where the Larsons come in', Abby. What did you mean?" Ziva asked.

"Good observation," Abby commented lightly. "They have an older brother, Albert Larson. Well, more like a half-brother. They have the same father. Albert Larson was born and raised in Maryland. He used to own the PR firm Heinze and Salmow work at. One time, they got sued by NCIS for what, I don't know. They lost, and had to pay a lot of money. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Jenny's the Director now."

"Well, let's go get him," Gibbs said.

"One minor problem. He's dead. He died in a car accident three years ago."

"Abby, a car accident? Did they investigate?" Gibbs asked, suddenly alarmed.

"Of course they did. It was exactly like the accident Jenny and Zach were in, except there was no car behind him."

"Any luck with the hospitals or clinics?" Everybody shook their heads, but Abby looked a little pale.

"He has a sister, Victoria Larson who's a doctor," Abby clarified.

"I want all of you on this," Gibbs barked at the four—who were staring wide eyed at a picture of the accident on the plasma—and promptly left.

Chapter Text

Gibbs was sitting on Jenny's black leather, living room couch. Jenny's head laid peacefully in her lap; she was sleeping. She had been spending a lot of time on this specific couch lately, not wanting to be locked upstairs in her bedroom and being forbidden in her study by him. He was absentmindedly watching a football game. He was glad she was asleep—he couldn't handle another soap opera. She had grown weirdly attached to those, lately. In general, she did three things: read, watch TV and whine and bother him about letting her walk to her destinations. The latter the most, which he always refused. He ran his fingers through her hair, hearing her sigh softly.

With her out of it for at least a month, Gibbs was supposedly acting Director. Not thatconversation had been an eventful one. She had simply told him he would have to do it. He told her that he wasn't leaving her alone at home. And then she twisted his arm until he agreed. Except that he spent more time at home, with her, than at the NCIS building. She had noticed this and called Cynthia, who had informed her that he was only in on extreme emergencies and nothing else. Orders from the acting Director. He was there when she had rolled her eyes and thanked her faithful assistant.

Gibbs heard the front door slam open and close, followed by a backpack going 'thud' against the hardwood floors. He heard whistling coming from that general direction, making him smile. He heard one shoe drop, then the other. He walked on socks into the living room, having resorted to humming instead. He stopped when he saw Jenny asleep. Gibbs smiled.

"You're happy today," Gibbs remarked. Zach nodded. "How was school?"

"Too easy. And the Principal wants to talk to you," Zach said offhandedly, laughing at a commercial of a talking baby on TV.

"Anything you wanna tell me?" Gibbs asked.

"I kissed Annie," Zach mumbled, the words strung together. The boy blushed bright red.

"Really?" Gibbs was trying his hardest not to smile, because it was obviously embarrassing to the boy sitting across from him on the coffee table.

"Anything else?" Gibbs had a feeling something was not right. He wasn't ever called in by the principal, unless it was something bad. And even then, he usually went to the teacher before the principal.

"I got into a fight," Zach said, in the same way as before, except his tone wasn't laced with embarrassment, but guilt.

"Why?" he asked carefully, knowing full well that he didn't need to reprimand the boy, seeing as how the guilt was threatening to overtake him.

"That kid made a crack about my father." Zach was paying a large amount of interest to the floor.

"Okay, Zach, it's good you defended your dad, but you didn't have to get into a fight."

"I know." Gibbs was really worried, but choosing not to voice it at the moment. Zach wasn't really the type to get into fights at school.

"Alright. Do you have homework you need help with?" Every day Gibbs asked him this question, and today, like every day, his answer was the same.

"Nope." And he trudged out of the living room. Gibbs heard the backpack being dragged and then the door to Jenny's study being shut closed. For the last two weeks, that's where Zach would go to make his homework. He would sit in Jenny's chair, use one of her pens—"But what if you get the answer wrong?" "I won't"—and make his homework.

"Fights at school..." Jenny said, and his gaze snapped down to hers. He smiled at her sleep-laced eyes. It was a rare occurrence that this happened, as it was only present for a few minutes after she would wake.

"He said fight," Gibbs defended Zach.

"I think it's fights. You haven't noticed?" Jenny asked him and sat up. She ran a hand through her hair, combing the tangles out of it.

"Yeah. He's become a little distant lately," Gibbs said.

"A little? Jethro, I haven't seen a real, genuine smile from him for a week, at least."

"Why do you think that is?" Gibbs asked, worriedly.

"What do you think it is?" Jenny challenged him and made to get up.

"Where do you think you're going?" Gibbs asked.

"Bathroom," she said simply, and raising an eyebrow as if to contradict her. Gibbs swiftly stood up and scooped her up in his arms. He started walking to the closest bathroom.

"Leroy Jethro Gibbs! Put me down this instant!" Jenny yelled at Gibbs. He shrugged and set her down in front of the door.

"Aargh!" she said at him, before disappearing into the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind her.

"Hey, I'm following doctor's orders!" Gibbs shouted to the door. He heard soft cursing and smirked. After waiting awhile, the door swung open and Jenny came out. She smiled wryly and waited for Gibbs to lift her up. He did not disappoint. Depositing her on the couch, he went to the study. He opened the door softly, and watched as Zach worked on his homework.

"I'm almost done Gibbs," the boy said, not looking up.

"When does your principal want to see me?"

"Tomorrow after school."


"Good afternoon, Agent Gibbs, good afternoon Zach," the assistant said to him.

"Good afternoon," the two said in unison.

"You can have a seat," the overly-cheerful woman said.

"Do I have to stay?" Zach asked.

"Yes." Zach made to run away, but Gibbs just caught him by the back of his jacket. He grumbled.

"Fast," Gibbs said. "But not fast enough." Zach frowned and sat down on the chair next to Gibbs. He plopped his bag on the floor and sighed in defeat.

"Good afternoon Agent Gibbs, Zach." A woman with brown hair, pulled back into a tight bun, appeared at the doorway to the principal's office.

"Good afternoon Mrs. Cameron," Zach said, with a small smile.

"Good afternoon," Gibbs said politely. The principal motioned for Gibbs to enter her office.

"Stay here," Gibbs said to Zach, as a warning. He walked behind the woman and closed the door behind him.

"Have a seat," Mrs. Cameron said, as she sat down behind her desk. Gibbs sat down in one of the plush leather seats.

"I assume you know why I called you in today?" the older woman asked.

"Zach told me he got into a fight," Gibbs said simply. She quirked an eyebrow.

"Huh, well, that's not all. There are some things we need to discuss. Some good and some... less good. Like the fighting for instance. It's happened more than once." Jenny was right, of course. It had been more than one little fight.

"I let it go the first time it happened, because of his father's death, but this is the third time already."

"When did it happen the first time?" Gibbs asked, worried.

"Last week. And then on Friday and yesterday." Gibbs saw that the woman, too, was worried, and he completely understood. This wasn't Zach-behavior at all.

"I think he's hurting on the inside," the woman said. "It's typical behavior for a grieving child. Which brings me to the lighter part of the conversation. He's doing excellent in school." And that, Gibbs wasn't expecting. Sure, everyday Zach was done with homework in less than an hour, and always saying it was easy.

"Really?"

"I've been looking at his test scores, some of his homework, and listened to the teacher's observations. With a few other teacher's, and his own teacher we sat down and had a meeting. We came to the conclusion, that, with only the best interests of Zach in mind, we would like to advance him to the second grade." For probably the first time in his life, Gibbs jaw dropped open. He quickly shut it, but his eyebrows remained near his hairline.

"It's the second month of school," Gibbs said, still stunned by the news.

"I know that. But he's already much more advanced than the rest of the class. Did he tell you that when the class has reading hour, he gets sent up to read with the third-graders?"

"No, he didn't." This was much more Zach-behavior. He remembered when Jenny asked him about working with a pen.

"Well, he does. It's completely up to him, but of course you need to agree." The woman really hoped that he would agree.

"And if he says no?" Gibbs asked, because there had to be a downside to this.

"I'm afraid that he'll be so bored in the class he is now, that he will slack off and then his grades will slip. But if he's in second grade, he'll be at his level and he'll feel a challenge, keeping him busy."

"You do know that he skipped a year in elementary, right?" Gibbs asked.

"Yes, I do. Zach is very mature for his age, and I feel that he will fit right in with the kids in second grade."

"And if he decides to go to second grade, when would that be?" Gibbs inquired.

"Right after receiving his first report card, so around the beginning of December. Is that you agreeing?" she asked.

"Let me think about it."

"You'll tell Zach?"

"I will. How do you think we can stop the fighting?" Gibbs asked, truly clueless.

"Talk to him. See what's bothering him."

"Alright. Thank you," Gibbs said and stood up to leave.

"Agent Gibbs, I take it you'll let me know about the decision?" Gibbs nodded and left. Zach was sitting in the same position as before, swinging his legs under him. He turned to face Gibbs when he heard the door close.

"Gibbs," he said softly.

"You told me you got into one fight," Gibbs said simply and sat down next to him.

"Only yesterday. But there were two more before that," Zach said quietly, looking down and feeling ashamed.

"Why?" The boy shrugged.

"Zach, I asked you a question," Gibbs said sternly.

"Because I was upset," Zach said quietly.

"But it didn't happen right after you went to school again. It started later," Gibbs remarked.

"Because I didn't really miss my dad until then."

"What do you mean?" Gibbs was confused now.

"At first it was like staying with an uncle and aunt, y'know, like a vacation. But then, after a while I really started missing him. Gibbs, I miss my dad," Zach said and looked up at Gibbs. There was a sad expression on his face and a lone tear trailed down his face.

"But then why did you get into a fight?"

"Because." The boy sniffed. "Because being angry at someone was easier than hurting on the inside. And then yesterday Gerald said what he said and, like the other two times, I snapped. I don't know why Gibbs. So I punched him." Zach shrugged helplessly. "I feel guilty." Gibbs did a double-take.

"Why do you feel guilty, Zach?"

"Because I wanted to go to the amusement park. My dad wanted to stay home and watch movies. But I begged him to go to that park. And if we had stayed home, maybe they wouldn't have taken him and he would still be alive. It's all my fault." Zach looked completely dejected.

"Zach, it's not your fault. Not to make you feel worse, but if you had stayed home, they would've gotten him there, too. Zach, none of this is your fault. You shouldn't think that," Gibbs said firmly, trying his hardest to take away those thoughts from the boy. "Whenever you feel that way, I want you to talk to me, okay? And whenever you want, we can go to the cemetery. No matter what. I just want you to talk about it; you had me worried, Zach."

"Sorry," the boy muttered.

"Don't apologize," he replied, as if on autopilot.

"It's a sign of weakness. Y'know, Gibbs I think there's a flaw in that rule. It's also a sign of respect," Zach said.

"I'll reconsider it," Gibbs said, jokingly. "Come on. When we're at home I need to talk to you." They had been walking to the doors leading out of the school, but Zach stopped, making Gibbs turn around to face him.

"What?"

"More talk? Like, about feelings? We talked enough for a month!" Gibbs chuckled at Zach's revolted face.

"Not about feelings. About school."

"Oh. Okay." They resumed walking again. "You had me worried there." Gibbs couldn't help but smile at his words.


When they got home, Zach did his usual routine of bag-dropping and shoe-removing. He was going to greet Jenny in the living room, except, the room was empty. Gibbs already stood there. They both turned at the sound of a door closing. The two looked at each other, before running towards the sound. Jenny stood in front of her study, ready to go to the living room. She seemed a little guilty.

"How did you get here? Why are you close to the study?" Gibbs asked. Zach was glaring at her.

"On my feet and because I was just in there," Jenny said simply, standing straight.

"I knew it! I had a feeling! Some things weren't where I left them," Zach said and then went back to glaring at Jenny. "You were banned."

"Oh, not you too," Jenny said in defeat.

"First of all, you're not supposed to be walking and I remember prohibiting you to the study. What were you doing in there?"

"None of your business, Jethro," Jenny snapped at him. Zach turned to Gibbs.

"I think she deserves a time-out," Zach said and Gibbs nodded. Jenny's eyes went wide.

"I'm not four!" she said. She had no intention of getting a time-out.

"Well, when you don't follow rules and act like one, you'll be punished like one," Zach said triumphantly, proud at himself for coming up with that.

"He has a point," Gibbs said.

"You can't be serious."

"How long do you think?" Gibbs asked, turning to Zach.

"I don't know. Twenty minutes?"

"Remember, she's always trying to walk," Gibbs reminded Zach.

"You're right. Thirty." Zach's eyes lit up and an evil grin made its way onto his face. "In her bedroom!"

"Very good Zach." And before Jenny could comprehend what they had decided, she was off her feet. Gibbs slung her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. She let out an 'oomph'. She heard Zach giggle. She faintly registered Gibbs walking up the stairs. She was facing Gibbs' butt and smiled. At least that was a plus. But then she heard Gibbs chuckle and Zach laugh and she was reminded of her position.

"Leroy Jethro Gibbs!"

"Jennifer Victoria Shepard!" Gibbs said back in the same tone, making Zach snort from behind her. Or was it in front of her? She knew Zach was behind Gibbs. She was about to start muttering obscenities, when she was promptly dropped on her bed. Zach and Gibbs were out of her room in a flash, like bats out of hell. Her door slammed shut and heard a lock click. She huffed indignantly.


Zach sat down against Jenny's closed bedroom door. Gibbs took his example and sat down next to him.

"She's gonna kill us," Zach commented.

"Probably."

"You wanted to talk about school?"

"Is school too easy for you, Zach?" Gibbs asked. The boy turned to him, nodding.

"Yes. It's way easy."

"What if I told you that you could skip ahead and advance to the second grade?" Gibbs asked carefully.

"Really?! That'd be so great! Why?" Zach asked, looking at Gibbs.

"Because you could, if you want to," Gibbs said simply and had the advantage of seeing Zach's face light up.

"Really?!"

"On one condition." Zach's rigid posture slumped. "No more fighting in school."

"Deal!"

"I'll tell your principal. Then you'd start in December. Now, on another note." Gibbs leaned closer to Zach. "What do you want for your birthday?" The smile on the boy's face grew at the reminder, but then it faltered.

"I don't know what I want."

"You don't know what you want?" he asked surprised. "No new iPod, way too expensive sneakers, trip to Disney World—." Zach interrupted.

"Jenny can't go to Disney World, she's on bed rest," Zach said, making Gibbs hold back a smile.

"We could go," Gibbs suggested and mentally slapped himself when he himself cringed. Not a good idea.

"You and me? Disney World? No way." Apparently Zach agreed. "But if Jenny's there..." he trailed off, leaving room for Gibbs to agree. He was not disappointed.

"Well, she's not on bed rest forever, Zach." Gibbs smiled. "But the question is if you wantto go to Disney World."

"Nah, maybe some other time. The new iPod did sound tempting," Zach said, feigning casual, making Gibbs smile.

Gibbs cell phone rang and he picked it up.

"Yeah, Gibbs."

"Hey, Gibbs we have something. That doctor we're looking for lives with her partner. A Navy Lieutenant Kingston," McGee said.

"Alright, good work, McGee. Now find me that couple."

"Gibbs, you realize they're both women, right?" Tony said, also over the phone. Gibbs figured he was on loudspeaker.

"Yes, DiNozzo. Find both!" Gibbs said and snapped his phone shut. He leaned back against the door next to Zach, and then the name registered.

Chapter Text

"Hey, Gibbs we have something. That doctor we're looking for lives with her partner. A Navy Lieutenant Kingston," McGee said.

"Alright, good work, McGee. Now find me that couple."

"Gibbs, you realize they're both women, right?" Tony said, also over the phone. Gibbs figured he was on loudspeaker.

"Yes, DiNozzo. Find both!" Gibbs said and snapped his phone shut. He leaned back against the door next to Zach, and then the name registered.


"Zach, that boy you shared a room with, the eight year old—.

"Dean Kingston."

"What's his mom's name?" Gibbs inquired.

"Which mom? He has two. I only know one name, Hallie Kingston. She was the only one who was there the days I was locked up."

"You weren't locked up. And do you know why his other mom wasn't there?"

"Hallie said something about a friend in trouble." Zach shrugged. "Why?"

"Nothing, just wondering," Gibbs said casually.

"Gibbs..." Zach started, unsure.

"Trust me," Gibbs said and Zach acquiesced, leaning against Gibbs side. "Do you have homework?" He felt Zach nod. "Well, go make it." Zach got up and walked down the stairs. Gibbs smiled and got up. He opened the door and went in. He found her reading a cover-less book. She saw him and looked back at the page. The next thing he knew, the book was flung at his head and it narrowly missed his ducked head, hitting the door with a loud thud. He chuckled and walked over to where she sat on the bed, glaring at him with her arms crossed.

"You missed," he said, and saw the fire in her eyes, which made him smile wider. He crawled onto the bed and she scooted closer to the edge, away from him. He grabbed her and pinned her to him, hearing her huff in defeat.

"Love you," he whispered in her ear, and that finally made her smile. She ducked her head so he wouldn't see it. He started pressing kisses behind her ear. She turned to him and linked her hands behind his head. He pressed his lips against hers, moving in a tender kiss. He slipped his hands under her sweatshirt to simply lay on her warm lower back.

And then the door burst open.

"A party! Oh, sorry," Zach said, turning back to leave.

"Hold on, come back here," Jenny said. Zach spun back around and walked closer to the bed.

"Gibbs, you asked what I wanted. I want a party," Zach declared and of all the things Gibbs thought he would've come up with, this was the lowest on his list. And the one he didn't want Zach to choose, but alas, he did.

"Oh?" she said amusedly, turning to look at Gibbs. She looked at him as if, what did you get yourself into? "What kind of party?"

"A costume party!" Zach seemed excited, so Gibbs didn't grouch, or 'rain on his parade' as Abby had once said.

"On your birthday itself?" The boy nodded.

"On my birthday."

And so time went on, up to Halloween...

"Gibbs! We got to go!" Zach yelled up the stairs. Zach had been ready for an hour, impatiently tapping his foot at Gibbs. Jenny had finally found the silver lining to the accident: she would have to stay home and wait for the trick-or-treaters, instead of going out. Gibbs had grumbled at this, and couldn't produce an argument without sounding hypocritical. Jenny had managed to get Gibbs to wear a costume, and compromised by saying she would wear one, too. So, because of that, she now stood in front of her mirror, applying the last coat of mascara. She had gone all out on her costume, regardless of what Jethro said—"What's it matter? The kids are only here for the candy"—and Zach gladly agreed with her. She was wearing a dark green gala dress that hit the floor. Zach had happily chosen the biggest tiara he could find while they were looking for one, and she was wearing it on her head, her hair loose and falling in curls around her face. She had applied the right amount of make-up and looked breathtaking. It actually took Gibbs breath away when she came out of the bathroom. Only for the moment to be ruined by her laughing.

"Are you laughing at me?" Gibbs growled, eyes narrowed. She clamped her lips together and ardently shook her head, trying to keep the laughter in. "You are."

She decided it was safer not to speak. It was fairly simple, really. Gibbs was dressed as a hippie. Complete with his hair sticking up in places and the peace-sign. She found it very, very hard not to laugh.

"You should go, Zach's waiting," she suggested. Gibbs grumbled low and got up from the bed, straightening out his tye-dye shirt.

"I love you," she said, smiling, looking up at him through her lashes, head bent down slightly.

"Yeah, yeah," he said and turned, and she mock-gasped, pulling him back by his arm. She pulled him hard and he almost crashed against her. She pressed her lips to his, but it was a tender kiss. His hand was behind her neck and the other holding onto her elbow, she held him by his waist. At the sound of a camera going off, they pulled away. Both turned to Zach, who was grinning stupidly at the picture he had just taken. He noticed their stares.

"It was so funny! The princess kissing the hippie." Zach snorted and burst out laughing.

"Do you want to trick or treat?" Gibbs said, and Zach sobered up immediately.

"Yes. Ziva and Tony and Tim and Abby are waiting around the corner," Zach said, and Gibbs' eyes went wide.

"They're going with us? No. I'm changing," Gibbs said, turning to the closet.

"Come on, Gibbs!" Zach whined. Jenny sat down on the bed and Zach plopped down next to her. "You look pretty," Zach murmured, making Jenny smile.

"You don't look too bad yourself, Cupid," Jenny said and nudged Zach, who smiled.

"Leroy Jethro Gibbs! You are staying in the costume!" Jenny demanded, winking at Zach.

"Fine," Gibbs grumbled. "Let's go," he said and nodded to the door. Zach hopped off and almost shot away. "We'll be back," Gibbs said to Jenny, who walked him all the way to the front door.

"Have fun!" She smirked at his defeated face.

"Love you too," he murmured in her ear. "You have fun, too." And then her two boys walked out of sight.

"So, do you have a strategy to this trick-or-treating thing?" Gibbs asked Zach when they were walking down the street.

"Well, sorta. We go block by block until I'm tired," Zach said simply. Gibbs didn't fall for it.

"No, we stop at ten."

"Deal. Oh look, there they are!" Zach took off running, but Gibbs kept his steady pace. He reached the group and took in their attire. Tony was wearing a suit with a red flower pinned to it, something about his whole apparel screamed 'the Godfather,' and it probably was. Tim was wearing blue worn overalls, with a white shirt under it, and a tool belt with a yellow helmet. Abby was dressed in a kimono, and looked like a geisha. Ziva was dressed as, what he assumed was, as basketball player. But he wasn't too sure.

"Hey, boss," Tony said. They all greeted each other, and then Gibbs asked what Ziva was.

"Well, turns out, it's Ziva's first time trick-or-treating! Meaning she had no costume and we had to whip this up." At the word 'this' he motioned to what she was wearing. Ziva pinched him and he squeaked. "You look very nice," he quickly added and Ziva smiled jubilantly.

"So, anyway, let's begin!" Abby said excitedly.

So that's what they did for the following three hours, knocking door-to-door, asking for candy, mainly for Zach and Abby. There was a house where there had been a young couple, who was surprised at the group. "They're my security," Zach had said and the couple was still stunned. "My mom is the Director of an armed federal agency."

"What agency?" the man had asked, as to which Zach answered, "NCIS. It's like FBI for the Navy and Marines." And then he had gotten a load of candy.

There had also been a little old man, who had forgotten all about Halloween, so had insisted on giving the group $100. Gibbs had refused this, but the man forced it upon them, so they reluctantly took it. Finally they made it to Jenny's house.

They knocked loudly.

"TRICK-OR-TREAT!" they yelled at the door, which swung open, revealing an amused Jenny.

"Hi guys," she said and reached behind her to grab the bowl with all the candy, dropping some in everybody's bag, skipping Gibbs and putting his load in Zach's bag. She winked at Gibbs, who stifled a smile. Tony and Abby noticed and held their bags forward for more, making Jenny roll her eyes. She dropped some extra into Abby, Tony and Zach's bag, and they finally took the hint. Zach would, no matter what, get more candy than them. Zach quickly hugged Jenny, before they moved on to the next house.

"Bye Jenny!" The group walked to the next house. Tony tried to steal some candy from Zach, who slapped his hand away. Tony felt his head go forward as Gibbs head-slapped him, making all the others laugh.

After they had all finished trick-or-treating, Gibbs and Zach walked back to the house. Gibbs' bag was half-filled, and all the candy was intended for Zach.

"What are you gonna do with all the candy?" Gibbs asked.

"My favorites I'll eat. The rest I'll sell." He shrugged.

"How will you sell it?"

"Do you have any idea how many candy-crazy kids there are at my school? After Halloween, a few days after, they start feeling really bad and want candy, and then I sell."

"How much do you sell them?" Zach rifled through the bag and held up a candy covered in red and black wrapping.

"This is the most popular. I sell it at 50 cents a piece." Gibbs eyes went wide.

"Kids pay 50 cents for this tiny piece of candy?"

"Do you have fifty cents for me, Gibbs?" Gibbs shook his head.

"I'll give you at home." Zach slowly took the wrapping off the candy and offered it to Gibbs. He chewed on it, and his face turned to surprise.

"This is good."

"Fifty cents is just right," Zach said. "Do you think Ziva's gonna eat her candy? Do you think she could get Tony to give me his candy?"

"I don't think Ziva's gonna eat her candy. I can get you DiNozzo's candy. Do you want Tim's, too?"

"Nah, let Abby have that," Zach said with a wave of the hand, but then stopped. "Abby will be hyper all week!" Gibbs nodded.

"I think I'll ask McGee for the candy," Gibbs said.

"Good idea. Do you think Jenny has candy left?" They were nearing the house now.

"She might. Maybe she put some aside for you, but I don't think she still has a lot. Did you see how generous she was in giving the candy?"

"You're right." Zach yawned loudly, and Gibbs chose to ignore it.

"So, you're not wearing the same costume for your party, are you?"

"Of course not, Gibbs. All the people have already seen me as Cupid." Gibbs almost rolled his eyes at this.

"Didn't you see my other costume?"

"No. What is it?" Zach motioned for Gibbs to bend down. He whispered into Gibbs' ear, who slowly smiled.

The door opened right when Zach reached for it, and the boy went in, quickly ascending the stairs. Jenny stopped him when he was about to enter.

"Jen," he warned. She smirked. She grabbed his shirt and pulled him to her, her mouth ending up near his ear.

"I like your costume," she said to him, but he pulled back and looked at her, eyebrows raised. "What? I really do!" She huffed and turned to go inside, but he pulled her back against him and placed open-mouthed kisses along her bare shoulder and collarbone. She laughed and fended him off. "Later," she whispered to him.

Zach was trying—and failing—to het his cupid wings off. Jenny chuckled when she saw him and helped the boy. He changed into his pajamas and was about to get in bed, when she stopped him.

"Brush your teeth," Jenny said and Zach walked to the bathroom, doing so. When he was done, he came back into the room and smiled widely, trying to reveal all his pearly whites. Jenny nodded in acknowledgement. The boy crawled into bed, and scooted to snuggle deeper into the covers. He was yawning uncontrollably by now.

"Good night Zach," Jenny said, leaned forward and placed a soft kiss to his forehead. She stood up to leave, and right when she flicked off the night, succumbing them in darkness, he turned and murmured, "Night mommy." Jenny was in the process of opening the door and slipping out, but she froze. Zach groaned, and turned back, shielding himself from the ray of light coming from the hall. Jenny quickly composed herself and slipped out, closing the door softly behind her and leaning against it.

With a shocked expression she walked to her bedroom, Gibbs already getting in bed. At his inquiring gaze, she changed her expression to one that Gibbs had once named blank. She sent a gentle smile his way, before turning to the connecting bathroom. A few minutes later she was out of her costume and in bed. Gibbs pulled her closer and she rested her head in the crook of his neck.

"What's wrong?" he softly asked, his hand stroking her back.

"Nothing's wrong..."

"Well then what happened? You're tense," he said lightly and pressed a kiss to her forehead.

"Zach called me mommy," she said almost inaudibly. She could feel the smile forming on his lips.

"Really?" he whispered, and she nodded. "Well, I think you are." She smiled. He knew she did, and he decided to throw precaution into the wind and go ahead to say what's been bugging him for a while now. "Do you think you want to start over?" The smile slipped from her face when she realized what he meant. "From scratch," he said, and that made her chuckle.

"It's not an art project Jethro!" He grinned.

"I know."

"You're asking if I want one with you?"

"Well, you running off and having a family with someone else is not exactly what I picture." She chuckled and slapped his arm, which was softly stroking her back. He tried to conceal a grin, until her next words.

"Well what do you picture?" He knew that if they were having this discussion somewhere not in bed, her arms would be crossed. She opted for simply raising her eyebrow.

"You." He pressed a kiss to her forehead. "Me." He pressed a kiss to her cheek. "Zach." He pressed a kiss to her other cheek. "And maybe, another kid." This time he kissed her fully on the mouth, and she moaned, linked her arms behind his head and kissed him back. "How do you feel about that?" he asked, millimeters from her lips.

"I'd like that," she said softly, and caressed his face. "I love you."

"I love you too," he replied, before twisting them and pinning her to the bed, kissing her into oblivion.

Chapter Text

"Zach, I'm so sorry about your party," Jenny said.

"It's okay," the boy insisted, holding the phone to his ear. Gibbs walked into the room and raised an eyebrow.

"But I feel bad."

"Don't, mom." Gibbs motioned with his hand for him to hand over the phone. Zach turned his back on Gibbs and flailed his arm out, keeping him away.

"I miss you," she said softly.

"I miss you too."

"Is Jethro there?"

"Yup, here you go."

Gibbs smiled when Zach handed him the receiver. He held it up to his ear, expecting Jenny to say something. After a few seconds of silence, she cracked.

"I can hear you breathing, Jethro."

"How's France?" He smiled when he heard her sigh.

"Cold. I miss you guys."

"We miss you too."

She caught the tone of his voice and groaned.

"Jethro?"

"Hmm?"

"Please tell me you're not eating pizza every day."

"Nooo. There's Thai, Chinese, Indonesian, Mexican and Japanese if I'm not mistaken. And there's always the fast foods."

Her chuckle was enough to make him melt on the inside. Not that he'd ever admit it.

"Tell me you're joking."

"What do you think?"

"That I should call Noemi to make some house-food."

Gibbs snorted at her choice of words.

"We'll be fine."

There was silence at the other end.

"You there?"

"Yeah... I, uh, heard you caught a break in the case."

He rubbed his hand over his face. He didn't like discussing this with her.

"The case?" he tried.

"Don't play dumb with me, Jethro. My case—our case."

"We caught a break. Found the woman, we're looking for her partner and the two men."

"Alright... Oh, I have to go."

"Ok. Bye Jen, love you," he said, making her take a second and stand still, a smile gracing her lips.

"Bye Jethro, I love you too."

When he hung up, Zach was standing there, looking up at him, smiling.

"So. What's on the agenda for tomorrow?" he asked.

"Tomorrow, you hang out with Abby."

"Why?" he asked, curious.

"Because I need to work tomorrow."

"But da-Gibbs, tomorrow is Saturday, you usually rotate weeks with Agent Cassidy's team, and they have this weekend. I checked," Zach said with a triumphant little smile.

"Zach, tomorrow you're staying with Abby. We're going to arrest three people."

"Jenny's case?" the boy asked. Gibbs nodded. "Ok." He shrugged. "Can we have burgers tonight?"


She had been gone to Paris for nine days and sixteen hours. Not that Zach was counting. That little equation is what he had done, while he and Gibbs were at the airport. It took him a whole ten minutes to count back from when Jenny had left. He was quite impressed with himself. Occasionally, he would pull a red scarf out of his coat pocket and sniff it, smiling. Gibbs would watch on with an amused smile every time he did it. Gibbs had treated Zach with an enormously delicious Cinnabon and a hot beverage when they found out her flight was delayed by an hour. All through eating the roll, something was tapping. If it weren't Zach's fingers, it was Gibbs foot. When they were done, they had just randomly walked around.

"Flight 1710 from Dallas/Fort Worth has landed at gate A11," sounded suddenly over the PA. Zach's eyes widened and Gibbs sighed. Finally.

"Where are we?" Zach asked impatiently.

"B4," Gibbs said and Zach grabbed his hand.

"We gotta go!" Zach started off in one direction, miraculously the right one.

"Okay, Zach," Gibbs said simply as they weaved in and out of the crowd. After a while, Gibbs saw the sign for Gate A11 and Zach got even more raring to go. Zach finally slowed down when he saw that there were any people standing in front of the gate. They stopped a little off the side.

And then Zach saw a flash of red.


She sat down in her seat, glad for once that it was a First Class seat. The Interpol Conference had been a long one. Nine and a half long days away from home. She knew she traveled a lot, but a lot had changed. She was exhausted almost to the point of no return. She sat back and sighed deeply. The conference had been boring this time, and it wasn't like she had sunny little Zach to cheer her up with his cute dimples or youthful comments. She smiled when she thought how hard it would have been at home for her two boys without her. She cringed when she thought about the food they probably had the days she wasn't there. But she was glad to be going home. Oh how she had missed those two. Only three and a half more hours. Unfortunately, there had been no direct flights to Paris and back, so she had to transfer planes in Dallas/Fort Worth. She had just boarded the one to DC. She had missed Jethro's lingering touches when they had company or Zach was there, his breath on her neck and his all-too familiar scent. She missed Zach's laughs, his comforting warmth and strangely enough, his music. She missed the way they would sometimes gang up on her for something they both wanted, or how they would argue, and then making Jenny settle the score. She missed it all.

An elderly man sat down in the over-sized, brown leather seat next to hers. He looked at her and greeted her.

"Hello," she said back politely.

"Leaving home or going back?" he asked, making small talk.

"Going back," she said with a smile. He noticed this.

"Ah, family missing you?" She nodded and warmed up to the passenger. "And you're probably missing your husband and kids." He wasn't probing, just trying to be polite. She smiled and shook her head.

"Not married," she said. He scrutinized her lightly.

"Kids?" he asked, pushing his handbag under his seat.

"I have a son," Jenny said. She wouldn't ever tire of saying that. Zach was her son; she was just waiting for it to be legal. She dug around her bag and found a picture of Zach when they had gone shopping and he had made Gibbs try on something. She showed it to the man, who smiled.

"Cute kid. How old?" He handed the picture back.

"He just turned seven." It seemed she hit a spot when he grimaced

"Ah, yes, a friend of mine has two grandsons that age. Horrible children, but I'm sure yours isn't bad."

"He has his moments."

For the rest of the flight she was in and out of sleep, occasionally conversing with the man. She was relieved when they finally asked for people to put on their seatbelts so they could begin their descend in DC. She quickly brushed her hair and touched up her make-up. When they landed at last, Jenny was aching to leave the aircraft and see her boys. She swiftly grabbed her handbag and stood up to leave. She was one of the firsts out of the plane.

And then she was attacked.


Gibbs was not a man who showed emotions easily, but those around him noticed after a few days of Jenny gone how he missed her. He kept opening his desk drawer and gazing at what lay inside. Only later was it revealed that it was a picture of Jenny, Zach and him, at the beach one time. Her hair was down and she was wearing a bikini that had almost made him go right back home with her and cover her up. She was sitting in between Gibbs' legs with Zach splayed over their legs, tongue out at the camera. She was looking pointedly at it, and Gibbs had a smug grin on his face. It was simple to say that Gibbs missed Jenny. He missed how her green eyes would sparkle when she did something mischievous, her soft lips and those long legs that don't seem to end. He missed her cooking. And he was sure that Zach did too.

It all got better that faithful day she had called home to inform that she would be returning three days earlier, due to a mix-up in some schedule somewhere. He could really care less, as long as she was still coming home. When that day arrived, Zach dragged Gibbs into the car much too early, and they drove to the airport. Where it revealed her flight was delayed. And then suddenly it landed, with no warnings, and he found himself being dragged again, this time toward a gate. Zach spotted Jenny first, coming out of the long mini-hallway.

"Mom!" he said as he ran over to her. She had just enough time to turn to the direction the sound came from before Zach attacked her legs. Gibbs was quickly by her side, steadying her, before she had a chance to fall. When Zach decided it was okay to let go, Jenny bent down and gave him a proper hug.

"I missed you," he whispered by her ear.

"I missed you too, honey." She caressed the back of his head. He let go and took over her handbag. Jenny stood back up straight and looked Gibbs in the eyes. She had really missed his piercing blue eyes. They were standing close to each other, breaths mingling. She smiled brightly at him. He couldn't handle it. He knew he shouldn't—the press and such—but he did it anyway. He pulled her into him, sending her crashing against him, and kissed her deeply and passionately. She wound her arms around his neck, ensuring that if her knees let out, she wouldn't crumble to the ground. When they finally pulled apart, Gibbs coaxed her into a hug. He wrapped his arms around her and she sighed. She had missed how her body fit into his perfectly.

"I missed you," he said to her.

"I missed you too," Jenny said, closing her eyes briefly. "I love you, Jethro."

"I love you, too, Jen," Gibbs said and smiled. Zach was staring up at her. Jenny noticed how he took an all-too-familiar scarf out of his pocket, sniffed it, and put it back.

"Zach, what are you doing with my scarf?" she asked.

"Same thing he's been doing with it the last nine days," Gibbs commented and Zach blushed pink.

"It smells like you," the boy said, suddenly finding interest in his shoes. Jenny stuck her hand out, palm up and wriggled her fingers. He took it out of his coat pocket and handed it to her. She smelled it and grimaced.

"This smells bad," she said.

"He wouldn't let me wash it." Gibbs shrugged.

"It was the only thing left that still really smelled like you," Zach defended himself, then looked back down.

"Zach." Jenny kneeled down. "Is this your subtle way of telling me I don't smell good?" she asked jokingly. He looked up and smiled.

"No!" She raised an eyebrow. "I'm serious," he added softly and a warm feeling spread over her. Her hair was tied in a low ponytail, and his hands ached to run through them, feeling the soft, silky feel of it. Jenny saw Zach's gaze and smiled. She let her hand pull the elastic holding her hair together, off. She sometimes let him brush her hair at night. She took the scarf and placed it in her pocket. Zach lunged forward and hugged her again.

"Really, really missed you." She disentangled herself and the three walked to the conveyer belt to get her luggage. Jenny smiled as Gibbs took her luggage and Zach managed her carry-on, leaving her with nothing to carry. As they were walking out of the airport, Jenny spotted the man who had been sitting next to her in the plane, and smiled. He saw her, too. He winked and smiled. And then he got into a stretch limo, much to her surprise.


"Stop moving," Gibbs said. Zach stopped his wriggling immediately.

"Jenny?" Zach asked.

"Hmm?" she responded passively, her eyes trained on the TV.

"Permission to get comfy?"

"Granted." Gibbs sighed when Zach began to wiggle around again.

After five minutes, he finally decided to lay still.

Another five minutes later, and the boy was asleep.

Without so much as removing her eyes from the TV, she nudged Gibbs.

"Go put him in his room." Gibbs kissed the shoulder closest to him, before lifting Zach up.

When he got back, Jenny was already in bed, with the TV off. He pulled back the covers and joined her. She immediately scooted closer to him, welcoming the warmth.

"How'd it go today?"

"Good. They were all in the same place, so that helped."

"Is it true?"

"Yeah."

"Are we thinking the same thing?"

"Probably."

"Tell me." Gibbs had the good grace to look embarrassed. "Please?" she asked, her breath on his neck. She placed a soft kiss there, and he crumbled.

"We found them... in bed." Jenny smirked.

"That's all I heard. Is there more?" she asked, because she had a feeling there was.

"Threesome," he choked out.

"Did they confess?"

"One of the men cracked. After that, the other two tried to cover their asses."

"So you know why they did it?" Gibbs nodded. "Was it a personal attack?" Gibbs shook his head.

"It was more meant to be a hit to NCIS."

"Thank you."

She smiled and turned his head to kiss him.

"I have something to tell you."

He raised his eyebrows. She took a second too long, then said, "I love you." Making him arch one eyebrow. She laughed nervously. "I'm kidding." And there went the other eyebrow.

She took a long slow breath, closed her eyes briefly, then opened them.

Looking deep into his blue eyes, she knew she'd found peace here in his arms, and all her nervousness melted away.

"I'm pregnant."

Chapter Text

"Zach, if you're late one more time your coach will bench you!" Jenny yelled. She stood at the foot of the stairs, a brown bag in one hand and Zach's backpack in the other. No more than a few seconds later something whizzed past her and suddenly her hands were empty.

Just as the door opened, it slammed back shut.

"Hi dad," Zach said, an impish grin covering his face. Gibbs pointed at Jenny and motioned his head towards her. Zach walked back over to Jenny and gave her a hug. "Bye mom." He looked back over at Gibbs, and in a quick moment hugged him and left the house. "Bye dad!" he yelled behind him, making Gibbs roll his eyes.

"You know he's going to be late now," Jenny said to Gibbs. He shrugged. "You did that on purpose."

"Nope, not my fault he takes three minutes to brush his teeth," he said nonchalantly.

"Look at you, blaming me for sabotaging our son," Jenny teased him. He grinned at her and caught her around her waist, bringing her closer to him. When he nuzzled her cheek with his nose, she laughed and moved her head to kiss him. After a while she pulled away. "Maybe you should start taking three minutes to brush your teeth as well, Jethro," she whispered to him before walking away, a giggle escaping her lips.

When she heard a suspicious thump, she made her way up the stairs quickly, Gibbs hot on her heels.

She opened the bedroom door and found her two boys sitting on the ground with clay, markers and paint surrounding them and their craft bench bent over.

"Your turn, Jethro," she said, patting him on the chest and turning to leave.

His hand circled her wrist and he pulled her back. "C'mon Jen. Help me?" he pleaded, looking up at her with puppy dog eyes.

"The paint can be removed from the hardwood if you scrub hard enough," she said and walked down the hall. Pushing open another door, she grinned at the little girl standing in her box.

When the girl saw her, she squealed loudly and held her arms up for Jenny to pick her up. Gently tossing her into the air, Jenny smiled along with the girl, bringing her down and settling her on her hip.

"Hi baby girl." The toddler giggled and reached out a hand to tangle in Jenny's hair. "C'mon, let's go help out daddy." When she set the girl down, the toddler turned to look up at her.

"Naynay?" Jenny nodded. "Eli?"

"Yes, baby," Jenny said and the girl squealed again, quickly toddling out of the room and down the hall.

Jenny heard the little girl giggling and then a groan from Jethro. When she got to the room, the little girl was sitting next to her brothers and in a few moments she was also covered in paint. Clapping a hand over her mouth to stifle her laughs, she looked over at Gibbs guiltily. He gave her a Gibbs-glare, but instead of the effect it had on his team, his glare made her laugh.

"You could help. They're half yours too," Gibbs pointed out.

"I went through childbirth."

"When the twins were born you broke three bones in my hand."

"I was on bedrest with Chloe."

"You ordered me around and there was an incident where I ended up in jail for it."

"I went through 19 hours of labor."

"In total?" he asked, breaking off.

"No. 19 hours of labor with the little stubborn one and 13 hours with Nathan and Elliot."

"I provide for this family," Gibbs said, puffing up his chest.

"Ha! I earn more than you do!"

"I got you pregnant. Three times."

"Your math is rusty, Jethro. You got me pregnant twice."

"Nope. Abby explained it to me. Nathan and Elliot aren't identical twins. Three spermcells and three eggcells."

"Two occasions," she said, glaring at him. "Fine," she conceded. "Chloe, baby, come to mommy."

"Why do you get the tiny one?"

"Why are you so petty?"

"Chloe, come to daddy." The little girl looked at Jenny, but turned and walked to Gibbs, who grinned and picked her up.

"Bastard," Jenny muttered under her breath when Gibbs left with the little girl. After a quick whisper with her boys, she grinned.

"JENNY!" She giggled, but went to the bathroom anyways, where the twins had gotten Gibbs to fall in the bathtub full of water.

"Oh, Jethro, you fool," she said, but felt pity on him and extended her hand to help him out. The moment his hand clasped hers, she knew her fate. "Jethro, don't you—!"

A few seconds later she resurfaced from under the water, spluttering and muttering obscenities. "That's no way for a lady to speak," Gibbs teased her, but Jenny was distracted.

"That shirt looks better on you when wet," she whispered in his ear. He smirked and promptly kissed her, eliciting gagging noises from the boys and giggles from the girl.


A door slamming woke Jenny up from her slumber. She stretched her arms and pointed her toes to stretch her feet. She looked up and saw Gibbs looking at her with a twinkle in his eye. He was sitting on the couch with her feet in his lap. She noticed Chloe laying in his arms fast asleep.

Zach walked into the living room, giving both Jenny and Gibbs a kiss on the cheek.

"Hi."

"What did we say about slamming the front door?" "How was soccer practice, honey?"

Zach chose to answer Jenny's question only," Practice was awesome! I didn't get benched by coach and I scored a goal! He said that if I practice hard enough and get to practice on time I might get moved up to a more advanced level."

"That's great, sweetie," Jenny said, beaming at him.

Gibbs stuck up his hand and Zach gave him a high-five.

Jenny stood up and moved around so her head was in Gibbs' lap. She watched as Zach sat down on the floor to watch Spongebob Squarepants with his brothers.

After a while, Zach turned back to his parents.

"Mom? Dad?"

They both looked at Zach.

"Thank you for adopting me. And I'm sorry I ran away a few years ago," he said, looking down in shame.

"Hey," Jenny said, making Zach look up at her. "C'mere." She sat up and made Zach sit between her and Gibbs. All the movement woke Chloe up.

"Zach, honey, it's okay. You know that. We love you." The boy smiled and nodded. Jenny smiled back at him and pressed a kiss to his forehead.

"Can we go to the park tomorrow?" Zach mumbled, making Jenny laugh.

"Sure we can." The two boys noticed the little scene going on and abandoned their cartoon in favor of jumping on the couch. "I love every single one of you!" Jenny said, kissing her twins on the cheek and pressing her lips to her little girl's forehead. Gibbs looked at her with a small smile on his face.

"Da-ad? Don't you love us?" Zach teased. Gibbs fake-glared at Zach.

"Sure, I love you kids." All four kids jumped on him at the same time, but when he growled they all giggled and got off him, running away. Gibbs smirked when they were left alone, and pulled Jenny onto his lap.

"I love you, Jen," he said, moving a stray strand of hair behind her ear.

"I love you too, Jethro," she replied happily.

She chuckled when she heard shrieks of disgust and laughter from their kids after Jethro kissed her.