Series: Discovering #14
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 992
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Ducky Mallard, Jenny Shepard
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Character Study, Established Relationship, Friendship
Summary: The fourteenth part of the Discovering Series. Jenny returns to the office after her meeting with Hollis.
I have never particularly liked Ducky. I don't dislike him, and never have; it is just that I have never particularly liked him. I have always thought he was, and is, too knowing, too able to see what or who someone truly is. He is able to penetrate personal shields in a way that even Jethro fails to do on occasions.
I am also less fond of him than most because of the influence he has always had over Jethro. Their friendship transcends anything I have ever known, and on more than one occasion Jethro has taken Ducky's side, rather than mine, even when he and I were involved. I guess I now know why.
However, whether I like Ducky or not, really doesn’t matter. He is part of my team, and as such is under my protection. No one messes with my team; that was one of the many things Jethro taught me. I can't remember now whether it's one of his rules, and if so what the number is. But if it isn't, it should be.
I received a call earlier today from Lieutenant Colonel Hollis Mann; or rather I should say ex-Lieutenant Colonel Hollis Mann, as she has retired. She asked if I would meet with her as she had something important she wished to discuss with me. I thought that maybe she was calling to see if the half-hearted job offer I'd made her was a genuine one.
I'd never had any real intention of letting her come and work for NCIS; I just wanted to see her reaction. As such I made an attempt to put her off; but she wouldn't allow me to, she kept insisting she had some information that I really needed to know. In the end I agreed to meet her in the bar of one of the nearby hotels; neutral ground.
I arrived a few minutes before she did and ordered two bourbons. When she joined me, she refused the drink that was waiting for her, saying that she never wanted to drink or even smell that stuff again. I gathered from her reaction that her relationship, such as it was, with Jethro had ended, and had not ended well. I found I was strangely pleased to learn that. Knowing that Jethro was with Ducky is one thing, but having another woman paraded under my nose is something else.
She didn't waste time on small talk, but then she never had. She came straight to the point.
I found her anger and her disgust on one level understandable. I'm not sure what my reaction might have been had I found out the truth about Jethro and Ducky in the way that she had done, while Jethro and I were sleeping together. Will the man never learn to lock his front door?
On another level I found her reaction disturbing, worrying, disagreeable, and the more she spat out her feelings, the more chilled I became. Finally when she stopped her vitriolic outpourings, she demanded to know what my reaction was and what I was going to do about it.
Even if I hadn't actively disliked Ms. Mann, my reaction would have been the same. I did what any team leader does when confronted with someone attacking their team: I defended my team. That was something else Jethro had taught me; whatever issues you had with a member of your team you support them publicly and deal with the issues in private. I know I haven't always done this, I didn't defend McGee when he was accused of deliberately shooting the detective, but I have changed since then. I have learned more about what my role as Director really involves.
So I told her that I already knew about Jethro and Ducky, which was true, and implied that I had known for a number of years, which wasn't true, but it seemed the right thing to say. She was momentarily silenced by what I said, and said she didn't believe me. I told her that I didn't care whether she did or not, what mattered was what I knew.
She was angry, furious even, when I told her, not that it was any of her business how I ran my agency, I was not going to do anything about their relationship. Why should I? Nothing had, after all, changed.
I also warned her. I warned her not to do the things she'd threatened. Not to cross Jethro and not to cross me.
I warned her that if she tried in anyway to hurt Ducky that she would regret it. I stopped myself from saying 'live to regret it'. She knows what Jethro was before he joined NCIS; but just in case she’d forgotten, I reminded her: Marine. Sniper.
I also reminded her that Ducky is a doctor, a surgeon, and suggested that trying to harm Jethro might not be in her best interests either. And I asked her if Jethro had ever told her about Paris. Apparently he hadn't. So I did.
I told her about the French cop. The crime scene. The cliff. The lake. The warrant. The boat. The escape.
Then I left her. I left her sitting at the bar, still furious, still vindictive, but also, I believe with the realization that she had two dangerous adversaries, should she try to harm Ducky, or indeed Jethro.
No, I may not particularly like Ducky, but I actively dislike Hollis Mann. Besides, no one threatens my team.
Part of me wishes I hadn't agreed to meet her, because now I have to find a way to tell Jethro about her as well as about the fact that I won't cause any trouble for him and Ducky. In many ways that is more than he deserves. Leroy Jethro Gibbs has caused me more trouble than any other person in my life, except one.
Sometimes I regret the day I ever met him.