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The Letter

by: silverfoxfiles (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 004 Word Count: 14397
Rating: TEEN
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Ducky Mallard, Abby Sciuto, Timothy McGee, Ensemble
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Episode Related
Pairing(s): Abby/McGee, Gibbs/?, Abby/Ducky
Summary: Jenny's last communication to Gibbs contains news that will shake Gibbs to the core. Ensemble fic. Some slash.some het pairings. Season 5 spoilers!

Author Notes: Special thanks to our beta, Anna. HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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The Letter

Dear Jethro,

If you’re reading this, I’m gone. I’ve given Ducky strict orders to avoid telling you anything until it is too late. I never wanted your sympathy and needed you to treat me as you always did.

I have some confessions that I need to make. Perhaps I’m being cowardly by telling you this in a letter. You can discuss it with me when we meet again. And I have no doubt that we will. I’ve been thinking about the afterlife a lot since I was diagnosed.

You asked me if I was sick that day and I had to lie to you. I didn’t want you to know for myriad reasons. First and foremost, I was pregnant. Am. For the moment. But I’ll never be able to carry the baby to term. And Jethro, this isn’t our first. In Paris, when I left you, I’d just miscarried.

This is so hard for me to tell you. I was much younger then and you were so sophisticated and in control. When I became pregnant, I thought you’d think I was trying to trap you. You seemed so bitter then, in your post-Diane frame of mind. I couldn’t tie you down. So I ran away from the best thing I ever had.

I hadn’t quite worked out what to do when I woke up beside you on the day I was to leave and it was simply done. It was over. Ducky was kind enough to look me over and consult with a physician in Paris. It was eleven weeks in, quite late for that sort of thing, but I suppose it was meant to be.

This is so much harder. I’m older and I can feel this baby inside me, Jethro. I know neither of us will live, and yet I can’t terminate its life. How ironic that the day I removed the biggest threat to my family’s memory was also the day you and I created life. I’ve even named him, silly little flight of fancy. Jasper Sheppard Gibbs. Your son. I can’t even think that without crying, Jethro. And it is a boy, Ducky confirmed it.

I’m almost five months along and not showing a bit. You’ll never suspect and I’m glad. You’ve had entirely too much heartbreak in your life. I dearly want to tell you, but I can’t. It would be selfish. It is bad enough that I’m leaning on Ducky. I haven’t any right to lean on you, Jethro.

Don’t trust Vance. I have some information on him, copies in my safe deposit box and with Ducky. Jethro, he may try to take you down and I need you to be prepared for that. I didn’t make the sacrifices I did all this time to have you risk or lose your career. But we have to bide our time, wait until he makes a move for the office.

Jethro, I wish we could have made it. I have never been in love with another man before or since you. You were the one for me. Thank you. I just wish I could have given you that family you’ve longed for all these years.

I’ll be sure to spend some time with Shannon and Kelly and make sure they know what a fantastic man you are. And this little life inside me and I will always watch out for you.

I love you,


Jethro Gibbs reread the letter for a second time, then a third time. Each time it made less sense than the first. How had he not known she was pregnant? He suspected she was dying, but pregnant as well? He took a drink straight from the bottle, no need to worry about cups when your intention was to get shit faced. Why leave dishes to do in the morning when he was hung over?

Jenny could have tipped him off that Vance was after him before this. Might have played his cards differently and not lost his team. As it was, Ziva was on a plane back to Tel Aviv, Tony was god knows where getting drunk himself and McGee was hopefully with Abby, taking care of her. It was going to be rough for her, losing Jenny and then the whole team in a matter of hours.

Carrying the letter with him, Jethro went upstairs leaving the pile of wood he had left over from his previous boat. He had started the evening taking inventory of what he’d need to really get started on The Jenny although, now it would be named the Jenny Jasper or some combination like that. He had to call Ducky, find out what Jen had for him, her own insurance policy it seemed. He’d get a hold of Franks too. Find out what he knew, and if it could be used in what ever move he made. It might be too late to save Ziva’s position, but he could get the rest of his team back where they belonged.

The phone rang several times before he heard Ducky’s voice on the other end. It sounded as if he weren’t handling this well. The stress in his voice was a dead give away; it created an edge that sounded strange to his ears. “Duck, I got the letter from Jenny. Said to talk to you. I’m taking the bastard down and I need all the help I can get.”

“Oh dear Jethro. I hated keeping that information from you. I’m so very sorry for all you’ve lost.” Ducky swallowed a sip of cognac, looking at the printouts he had. “I have a great deal of paperwork for you, information that I was under orders not to get to you until she was gone or her job was in imminent danger. Even after Rene…she instructed me not to turn it over it you unless she was permanently removed.”

Ducky sighed. “Jethro, have you any idea why they wouldn’t let us process her body? I made some inquiries and the autopsy documents have been sealed. Even Abby and McGee can’t locate the information. I don’t like the sound of this. Are they going to set her up in absentia for Rene’s death?”

"Don't know Duck, but I won't let it happen. The bastard may have taken her job, but he's not going to ruin her memory. I fought to prevent how it all went down in the end. Should have fought the Secant harder, the woman died a hero protecting her partner, and they make it into a helpless woman dying in a fire."

The whole situation left a bad taste in his mouth, but he hadn't been able to do a damn thing. He was in a worse position now, not able to use his team, who he trusted with his life, to get to the bottom of this. New people, even if one of them was Jardin, weren't going to do the dirty work he needed. "I'm going to need what you can give me as far as information. Then as a friend, I'm asking you to take a little time off. I'm going to suggest the same thing to Abby. I don't want any more collateral damage if I can prevent it. It's going to come down to him or me, and right now I'm not sure that it's going to be me. I'll damn well try to make sure of it though."

“Jethro, I can officially take time off, but I will help you as much as I can. Jennifer may not have always done the best thing or taken the safest course of action but she was a hero. You remember that I was peripherally there in Paris with all of you.”

Ducky swallowed hard. “I shall take eight weeks off, to see to Mother. Would that suffice do you think, my dear? And I must ask this. Did you see her body? Did she…appear to have suffered?”

"I didn't see her. They'd already removed the bodies by time I got there. Tony found her, and he said she was gone by time he got there. I've got no reason to doubt him. But I can only hope that she didn't suffer. I wouldn't want that for her."

“None of us would, dear boy.” Ducky looked at the papers and then at his guests. “I’ll prepare my paperwork, dear boy, and get news to Abigail. Is there anything else you need? I’ll be glad to give you copies of Jenny’s medical records and prenatal tests.”

“Medical records. I don’t think I can handle any of the pre-natal tests right now, Duck. Hold them for me, will you?” He had to be able to mourn Jenny first before even thinking about the fact that she was pregnant with his child. “And all the Intel you can find on Vance that you don’t already have. You have friends in high places; I’m going to need all of them. Pull in favors if you have to, but I need everything.”

“You will have any favors and connections I have, Jethro. Her death will not be in vain. Comfort yourself with the fact that she went out the way she wanted to, Jethro. She didn’t have to waste away…” Ducky sighed, blinking back tears, leaning against the gentle hands of support he had nearby.

“I’m so sorry, my dear boy. You must tell me if I’m speaking out of turn.”

"Thanks, Duck. I know you're going to miss her too. And knowing what you knew, maybe this was better." He said the words, but there was nothing behind them. He knew that if Jen had to die, in a blaze of glory would be how she chose. Dying in a hospital bed with everyone around to watch her wither away wouldn't be her choice. "I appreciate the honest words, doesn't make them easier to hear, but I know some day the truth will help."

“I’ll refrain…unless you want to know, of course and then I’ll rely on you to ask, Jethro. I’m sorry.” Ducky stayed quiet, not wanting to twist the knife in deeper.

Tony vaguely heard someone going up the stairs and raised his head from his position on the couch. The wind had kinda blown him and a few bottles of the hard stuff with him here to Casa Gibbs and he’d been drinking for a couple of hours now. He wanted to say goodbye to his boss before he shipped out. To where, he didn’t know. The Reagan had just left San Diego on Sunday and their location and deployment weren’t advertised, even to him, God, he was going to miss everyone- Gibbs and Abby the most.

“Hey, Boss. Didn’t wanna drink alone.” Tony vaguely waved at the figure who passed by the door of the den and then whirled back and stood in the doorway. “Don’t do that, makin’ me dizzy, Boss. Want some of mine ‘stead of that swill you drink? Spensive stuff. Only the best since I caused her to die.”

"Let me call you back, Duck. I've got DiNozzo here, and he's not doing so well." Jethro disconnected the phone and sighed.

Ducky looked at Tim and Abby after hanging up. “He wants you and me to take some time off, Abigail. You should be safe enough, young Timothy.” They had come over with food and drink and were now seated around his dining room table, as aware of how crooked Vance was as he was. “Jennifer wrote him a letter, a heartbreaking letter telling him some truths he need never have known if you asked me.”

He reached for Abby’s hands and placed his own on Timothy’s arm. “You must know this so that you may understand how to proceed with Jethro. Jennifer was expecting his baby, a son. She became pregnant in late December and I diagnosed her with a terminal illness in March. She would never have carried the baby to term, had she lived until then, but she refused to abort. He must be in such emotional pain and agony now, my dears.”

"She was pregnant? That makes it worse, and that it was Gibbs' baby, he must be a wreck." Abby didn't know what she should do. She knew Ducky and McGee needed her, but Gibbs was Gibbs, and wouldn't ask if he needed some support. "Maybe I should go over there, see if he needs a friend. I'll take the time off, but I'm not going to leave him alone. He needs us, and I can help, I'm not useless. I have a ton of vacation time banked, and I want to be in on this. I didn't take any time after Kate; I think I deserve time off now for Jenny."

“She was, Abigail. I wanted to tell you both but I was sworn to silence.” Ducky stood, pulling first her and then Timothy as well into his arms. “We’ll go together, deliver this paperwork and be there with him and Tony, who is there and not coping well. We should…say goodbye…to Tony.”

He brushed Tim’s hair back gently and ran a hand over the other man’s face. “Timothy, Abigail, I believe the time for secrets and hiding has passed. Our own should come to light. Have either of you any objections?”

“Not if it’s Tony and Gibbs.” Abby looked at Tim to see if he agreed, and at least he didn’t disagree. “They would protect our relationship, but we still need to keep it from the new Director.”

“We all have a common goal, my dears.Timothy? What do you think?”

Tim set his jaw and nodded. “I’m not ashamed. I’m proud to be with both of you. I love the both of you and I don’t mind if our team knows. And they are still our team.”

Just saying it hurt, knowing that someone else was sitting in Jenny’s office, behind her desk. “I don’t trust him, I don’t like him and he took my Timmy away. Three strikes and he needs to be out.”

“He isn’t to be trusted, Abby. Let’s gather our paperwork and drive over there. And they do not get our Timothy. He’s just moved down onto the second floor for the time being.” He cupped Tim’s chin in his hand. “Rest assured, Tim, that this is only temporary. Gibbs is as determined as I’ve ever seen him. We will reunite this team. I promise you that.”

Turning off his cell, Gibbs looked at the younger man and saw how bad he was looking. "My swill has been doing just fine thank you. If you're looking to get drunk, even for a cause, does it matter if it's the good stuff or not?"

Obviously, he wasn't drinking nearly as well as he should be. Tony was well past his point of drunk, which was rather depressing if he were into competitive drinking. "You pull the trigger, DiNozzo? Don't think so. You did exactly what your director told you to do, and that's what she and I would both expect from you. Then, you realized that she was in trouble, and tried to find her. It's what you were supposed to do, and what I would have expected you to do. Still doesn't make it your fault."

“Mine’s tastier,” Tony insisted. “Don’t try to absolve me, Gibbs. Ziva wanted to see her. I wanted to see more of Ziva. Ziva in that bikini….My fault, just like Jeanne.” He shook his head, tears running down his face. “Much as I try, Boss. Can’t get it together. Can’t be a man. Can’t be ‘sponsible.” He looked up at Gibbs. “Jus’ wanted to be heroic like you. Now ‘m getting shipped out.”

"Tony, she was dying. She knew it and she knew that she wasn't going to make it out of this. If I know anything, it's how the woman thought." Gibbs walked and sat down next to Tony. Taking one of the bottles, he held it in his hands, not opening it yet. "You know why she did what she did? She was protecting me. I didn't follow up on one loose end; Jen said it was done so I took her at her word. Turns out the loose end took out Decker and Jen both. I'm the only one alive from that op, and it's because Jen let herself be killed. You couldn't have stopped that, even if you had been there. Instead of dealing with just Jen's death, I'd be mourning you and Ziva both."

“Wouldn’t mourn me, Gibbs. Nobody would. Well, maybe Abby. But nobody else. Ziva’d be relieved. McGee’d be relived. My father…relieved. Nobody…Jeanne, relieved. Just destroyin’ lives. That’s me.

“I told you once you’re irreplaceable DiNozzo, not changing my mind now.” He knew that Tony was drunk, but Gibbs didn’t like hearing how bad off he was. “No one from our team would be relieved you were gone. Your dad and Jeanne, they don’t count. Neither of them knows the real you. Listen to me, Tony, if I lost you too, not sure I could keep going on.”

“Family, lovers should know the real you, Gibbs. Shouldn’t they?” Tony heard the words but he wasn’t sure he could allow himself to believe. “Losing me. USS Gipper. Win one for the Gipper, Gibbs. You seen it?”

"You telling me that you let Jeanne see the real you, while on assignment? Come on DiNozzo, you're better than that. You know you didn't let her see you. Tony DiNardo, sure. But you're not him, and he isn't you."

“He became me, a part of me, Gibbs. I fell in love with her. Me. Who doesn’t do love. Who has a crush on you. Me. I fell in love, Gibbs and don’t tell me you didn’t before. On assignment. Oh fuck.”

Tony wasn’t drunk enough to miss the look of anguish on Gibbs’ face. “Sorry. So stupid. God, Gibbs. Sorry.”

“He might have been a part of you, DiNozzo, but he wasn’t you. You fell in love with an idea, just like Jeanne did. Makes what happened that much worse. Should have never gotten that far. You shouldn’t have been put in that position.” Jen’s vengeance had ruined more lives than hers, and now he was the one who was going to have to pick up all the shattered pieces. “You’re a good man and a good agent. Shouldn’t have needed to use you that way. She took something personal to her and made it your problem.”

“M a grown man, Gibbs. Shoulda not gotten swept away. Shoulda never been romantic.” He closed his eyes. “Love is for suckers. Better to watch it on movies and stuff.” He ran a hand through his hair. “Just gonna say bye, Gibbs, ‘fore I ship out. Should go. Hard on you too.”

Still looking at the bottle in his hands, Gibbs needed to do something about all of this. But what? Before he could stop himself, his mouth was open and words were coming out. "Don't go. Give your resignation; don't take the deployment. I've lost too many team members. I'm not losing you. I'm going after Vance, going to make him regret ever going after us. Turn in your resignation; move in here if you think the money is going to be tight. Move in here even if it isn't. I want us together. It's going to get ugly, and the more of us together the better it is for us. Don't leave, Tony."

“I’m thinker than I’m drunk. Coulda sworn you told me to resign and come live here. You can’t stand me on a good day, Gibbsy. ‘Slike one of my fantasies, but you haven’t gone down on me yet.”

What had he just said? Oh fuck. “How come you’re not assing my kick yet, Gibbs?” At a loss for what else to do, he started chugging vodka. “Director sick? Even so, my fault. All my fault. Made a doctor frame me. “Sa talent, Gibbsy boy. Destroyin’ lives, my talent. Dad drunk ‘cause of me. Mom drunk ‘cause of me. Nobody loved me. Unfuckingloveable. ’cept the bottle loves me now.”

“I said it and I meant it, Tony. Move in here. I’m not going to be providing sexual favors, so that part of your fantasy is going to have to come from someplace else. Just keep your partners legal while you’re here and I don’t care. At least one of us will be getting some.” Once they were both sober, Gibbs was going to have Ducky talk to Tony, try to get him to see how wrong he was. “You’re loveable, just not my type. You’re parents were fucked up and it had nothing to do with you. Got to believe that.”

Tony struggled for sobriety. Had Gibbs just reacted totally casually to his slip up? “Move in? No USS Gipper? Trust me? After Jenny? And Jeanne?”

He buried his head in his hands. “A drunk just like my parents, Gibbsy. Irrespon’ble. Need someone care me. You? Wanna? Now you know about me?” Tony couldn’t wrap is muzzy mind around it all, but he didn’t want to look a gift Gibbs in the mouth.

“Kay, you the Boss. TV show. Tony Danza and he was a maid.” He shook his head. “Jus’ tell me what to do, Boss.”

"Last time I saw you drunk was after Kate, Tony. Don't think that twice in that many years is what's going to turn you into a drunk. Now, nights like this and asking for a blow job, well that might get your teeth kicked in, and push you to drinking. But I'm not turning you out because of that. Not turning you out because you're different. Always knew that, now you've just confirmed it for me."

“Three years, Gibbs. She’s been gone three years. May 24, 2005. Almost three years to the day.” Tony wanted to get belligerent but he was teary instead. “Different how? Cause I wanted ta give ya a ride? Who wouldn’t. Man, woman, doesn’t matter. Wanted it to break you an’ see inside, but I’m seein’ inside tonight, Gibbs. Without it.”

Tony closed his eyes. “Love her, Gibbs. Kate. Like Abbs, like a sister. Not like Zeeeeevah. Miss Kate. Gonna miss Zeeeevah too. They all go. Only you an’ me an’ Ducky an’ Abby left.”


She moaned, coming to slow awareness, the tang of the water and the rocking motion her only clues to her surroundings. “Where...?” She looked up at the grizzled grim looking man who handed her a bottle of water. “What…?”

Her shoulder was on fire, her arm secured to her body as well and her head was spinning.

“Good morning Sleeping Beauty.” For the first time since he’d pulled her out of the diner, Mike Franks breathed a sigh of relief. “Sorry I let you down back there. Luckily, I was able to get you the hell out of there before your agents came bursting through the door. My LA contact was able to secure a close enough look alike to convince anyone short of Probie that you were the dead woman in the diner. Luckily, we and the body were both gone by the time he arrived.”

They had taken quite a risk, setting up the op the way they had. Leave Jenny alone to meet the assassins alone, then for him to follow up behind them. Almost didn’t work, and when he saw her take the bullet to the chest, he knew they’d failed. After finishing off the gunmen still alive, he came to Jenny, checking for a pulse he was sure he wouldn’t find. That he found something, even if it wasn’t strong, was a shock. He called his buddy, who he’d stationed just down a ways from where they were and together they got Jenny undressed and the nameless corpse into her clothes. They drove off just as the NCIS protection detail pulled up, and he could only hope that they never noticed the car driving away.

“How are you feeling? We need to get you out of the country immediately. You’ve been out for two days. My friend is the one who patched you up and stayed with you while I went back to Washington. Congratulations, Ms. Sheppard, how’s it feel to be dead?”

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