Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 742
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Ducky Mallard
Category(ies): Character Study, Friendship, Holiday
Pairing(s): - No Pairing -
Summary: Jethro's new team, in Paris on assignment, is frustrated by close quarters.
Author Notes: Day 6 of the 12 Days of Gibbsmas.
December 25, 1997 noon
“Everything sounds so much more beautiful in French.”
“Mmm?” Jethro Gibbs looked up from the computer printout he’d been studying. The new ink jet printer thing had smeared, so they’d been forced to rely on the old reliable dot matrix printer. Score one for technology, yet again. He couldn’t even begin to figure out the computer nonsense. Jenny and Steve were the good ones for that.
“I said that everything sounds so much more beautiful in French, Jethro,” Jenny repeated, swaying slightly to the faint strains of Christmas music. Her eyes were trained not on the church, but on the apartment block next to it.
“Yeah, beautiful. Okay,” Gibbs replied distractedly. He wasn’t in a holiday frame of mind. They were stuck in a tiny flat with Ducky and new agent Burley on a filthy Paris street and they had nosy neighbors. He had no idea what story Ducky’d spun to keep them from prying but knowing Ducky, it had been long, involved, and spoken in broken French.
Gibbs was sick of the close quarters, the constant stumbling over each other, but most of all he was sick of the constant stream of holiday chatter. Some people just didn’t like Christmas. It wasn’t a crime.
“You do remember that it’s Christmas, don’t you, Jethro?” Jenny asked, a slight whine in her voice. Even though she was senior to Burley, she’d only been an agent for a little over a year and this was probably her first Christmas away from family.
“Yeah. How could I forget? You keep mentioning it to me.” He wasn’t being very nice, but he wasn’t in the mood either. She had been flirting for weeks and while he’d flirted back a bit, this wasn’t the time of year to encourage her. Christmas was the time for the ghosts of his past, not the glimmer of something in the future, and he resented her horning in, even though she had no way of knowing she was competing with a ghost.
“So sorry,” she said sarcastically, rolling her eyes at Burley, who was playing solitaire and Ducky, who was reading a book. Their one concession to the holiday was a six-inch potted tree that sat on the kitchen table and she and Ducky had conspired against him to get their way there.
“While you’re listening to the choir singing Christmas songs, you still watching for our boys? They don’t care that it’s Christmas. If things go down the way we expect ‘em to…”
“I know!” she said, patience clearly wearing thin. “I’m watching. And when I’m done, it’ll be Burley’s two hours and then yours. I get the drill, Gibbs. I just wish we didn’t have to work on Christmas.”
“It’s un-American,” Burley added, getting up and stirring the coq au vin that had been simmering for hours.
Gibbs slammed the sheaf of papers on the table. “You got something to complain about too, Duck?”
His friend shook his head, wisely remaining quiet.
“Fine. All of you get the hell out.”
Jen gasped, Burley looked stunned, but there was a small smile playing over Ducky’s lips. “Ya heard me. Get out, get lost. Go to church or just walk around. No sense in all of us working on Christmas. I’ll take the next six hours, just one of you be back by then.”
“Jethro?” Jen asked, wonder softening her green eyes.
“Jen, I can’t do much but this is my Christmas present to you. Get out and enjoy the rest of the day. All of you.”
She leaned over, kissing his cheek and giving him a big squeeze and he knew he was lost to this redhead. It wouldn’t happen now or even in the near future, but someday she was going to be his.
“You’re welcome, Jenny. Now will ya get lost. You’re distracting me.” Her girlish giggle and Burley’s low chuckle filled the apartment before a blast of air signaled their departure.
His fingers traced over his bracelet as he trained his eyes on the building they were watching. He was concentrating so heavily that he jumped when Ducky touched his shoulder.
“Well done, my friend. They needed that break. Merry Christmas, Jethro.”
He looked up, meeting his friend’s eyes. “Merry Christmas, Duck.”