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Story Notes:
We do not own any characters from NCIS. If you recognize a character, we didn't create them. If you don't recognize a character and you like them, we made them up. If you don't recognize a character and hate them, we have no idea where they came from. Please don't sue us!
Author's Chapter Notes:
When a face from the past resurfaces, NCIS must race to save one of their own.
Jethro Gibbs never thought he’d see the day when the director was marched out of NCIS under FBI guard. Under guard, as if she was a criminal. He’d had a five minute heads up, hadn’t even been able to get up to her office before the SecNav had hung up and Fornell had stormed upstairs.

Little shocked him any more, but hearing that Jenny was being removed from her position had. And being offered the position of interim director was an honor of a sort, he supposed. He wouldn’t take it, had refused outright. There was no way he could help Jenny from that office. Instead, he’d suggested the person he most trusted, and nodded as his colleague picked up his own phone.

Jethro stood as they led her down the stairs, four FBI agents surrounding her. She looked lost, furious, but also scared. He stood on shaking legs and jogged over toward her, ignoring DiNozzo’s –boss” as he rushed by. He stepped in front of the FBI agents, glaring down at Fornell.

–A minute, Tobias.”

–No, Jethro.” Tobias had drawn himself up tall, shoulders stiff, expression resolute.

–Yes, Tobias. You know who just called me. Five minutes in the interrogation room, all mics and cameras off. Do I have to pull rank?” Tobias had no way of knowing he’d turned down the directorship yet.


–Jenny, you okay?” he asked in an undertone, as soon as the door had closed. He aligned her so that her mouth couldn’t easily be seen. –What the hell is going on? You get home and hunker down. I’ll brief our people and be over in an hour. Don’t try to shake the tails but when you get home flush any bugs and do a search for wires. You’re not going down for this.”

–I’m fine Jethro. This is nothing more then a misunderstanding, they can’t possibly believe that I killed La Grenouille.” Jennifer pushed her hair back before facing her best team leader. –I don’t want you on this case. I’m not going down for this, and neither are you. That is a direct order, Agent Gibbs, not a suggestion. I need someone to watch my back and the higher up the better. I have no doubt this is the FBI’s way of getting back at us for the Haswari debacle that we took care of for them.”

–Jennifer, let me handle all of this. You concentrate on you and keeping yourself safe and I’ll take care of the rest of it. You need to take care of yourself. Do you have anyone who can be with you in case I’m too close to the situation and am under too much surveillance? I will be here for you, Jenny. The entire team will be. The entire agency will be. You have our support.” In a way this was Jethro’s fault, the Ari situation taking down someone else he cared about.

–We’ll get to the truth, Jenny.”

–I know what the truth is Jethro, there’s no need to get to it. The FBI will know it as well soon enough.” Jen appreciated the sentiment, but didn’t want anyone getting into trouble for interfering in this investigation.

–I’ll call a friend when I get home. And I promise not to lose my tails and I’ll sweep the townhouse when I get there. I also have provisions at home, a throwaway cell, which Abby has promised me is untraceable. Never thought I’d have to use it for something like this but I’m okay. I have safe areas that not even our esteemed counterparts would be able to find. I could spend my whole extended vacation in that room, and feel like I’ve gone to the spa. This is a chance for me to relax, while Fornell clears my name. They won’t ever be able to tie this to me”

Jethro nodded, giving her a faint smile. –Okay then. I’ll be in contact soon.” He squeezed Jenny’s arm then leaned in close. –Trust me and DiNozzo, nobody else quite yet, okay? He’ll be your interim director.”

–Jethro, I want you to take the position. Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.” If Gibbs noticed the quick look of panic crossing her face, he didn’t say, but the last person she wanted to take her position was DiNozzo. –He’s not seasoned enough and you know it. I need you to make sure Fornell doesn’t run roughshod over my people. He won’t respect Tony and he’ll do what ever the hell he wants.”

–Jenny, come on. Me? I’d cause more problems than I’d solve. They’d use the two of us against each other, especially about Ari. Tony is the natural choice. He went undercover, he knows the situation even better than I do, and I can work angles behind the scenes. And his party boy persona won’t be breached by the FBI, they’ll underestimate him.

–Fornell doesn’t respect Tony, but he damn well respects me. Anyway, it’s too late, I already turned SecNav down. None of us could handle Tony whining if he got the position and then had it pulled away.”

Jethro gave her a long look. –You have faith in him, Jen. I know you do. Trust me, partner. You’ve put your life in my hands in the past.”

–I trust you Jethro, I’d just feel better knowing that you were watching my organization. Tony’s a good agent but he’s not ready for a shot at being Director.” She knew that the younger agent would be someday, but that day wasn’t now. –I should have suggested someone outside of the office, but I thought you’d jump at the chance to my job.”

–You realize Jeanne is going to be back in town, and back where she can do all sorts of damage to DiNozzo’s fragile ego. You have noticed that he hasn’t been himself since this all went down. You’re putting him in a position to deal with a woman he claimed to love. Even you’re not that heartless, Jethro. Take the job, give Tony baby sitting the director duty, and let Fornell do his job. I’m going to be cleared and I don’t want any shoe prints on my desk, Gibbs.”

–That is why Tony has me watching his six, Jen. And so do you. Jeanne will be contained.” Thing was, what she said made a certain sort of sense. –I can’t go back on my word now, Jen. You want to deal with DiNozzo’s pouting? It’d cause more problems, Jenny. Going back, changing my mind, would give the impression of instability at the top level, and having DiNozzo in says we’re confident and in control. Even a little cocky, but neither of us has ever been cocky now, have we?.”

He gave her a gentle smile. –And I can put the screws to Tobias, Jen. He needs to be contained and controlled and we have a shared history and shared ex. I also helped him with his kid, he owes me.”

He tucked a strand of hair back and leaned in close, not sure what exactly he was intending to do, kiss her, hug her, comfort her when she clearly was in charge, but then her cell phone rang.

–Saved by the bell,” he muttered, annoyed. –You better answer that.”

Tony had tried to remain calm as he’d taken the call of his career and saw the FBI and Gibbs lead Jenny out, then presumably to interrogation. They didn’t reappear for a few minutes and Tony couldn’t resist the urge to call her. What the hell was going on? Ziva and McGeek were yammering excitedly and Abby and Ducky had come up, probably alerted by McGee. The other agents were milling around, obviously waiting for Gibbs to get back and tell them what was going on.

He knew her cell was probably being monitored, so he used one of his prepaid cell phones. –You okay?” he asked in a low, rough tone, his voice echoing around the men’s bathroom where he’d retreated.

Jen closed her eyes, needing to hear his voice, but this was a horrible time. –Why yes, I did order a sweater last week from your store. I was told it would be several weeks before it would be in, but if you have it sooner, that’s fine. You can bring it to my home this afternoon.” She turned and motioned to Gibbs that she would be a few minutes. –It appears that I’ll be home this afternoon and for a few days. Any time before eight will be good.”

–Gibbs friend or foe?” he asked in that same tone of voice, knowing it was all he could do right now without running the risk of his voice being recognized. There was always voice recognition software but the FBI wouldn’t go that route right now. Too much money for them to invest at the moment.

He wanted her to know how worried he was about her and how he felt, but he couldn’t risk that on the phone. Instead he just let a small noise escape, knowing she knew him enough to read his non-verbal communication.

–That’s a very friendly offer. I understand working long hours, and your delivery person coming when he gets off work tonight would be fine.” If she were alone, this would be so much easier. She wanted to let Tony comfort her but she had to be strong. –I don’t suppose that your delivery boy could pick up a pizza on the way over, I promise I’ll compensate him properly when he arrives.”

Tony let out a low chuckle. –Done.” He disconnected the phone first, removing the battery and stowing the unit itself in his pocket, then strode with every bit of authority toward the interrogation room. Pushing past the FBI agents clustered outside, he strode in.

–What the hell is going on? Director? Gibbs? Someone fill me in on why the Director is being dragged around by Fornell and what we’re doing about it.”

–Calm down, DiNozzo. What was your call about?”

Tony looked pointedly at Jenny, maintaining his high-stress demeanor. –Not in front of the director.”

–Fine,” Jethro said with a growl. –I’ll let her fill you in on the details. Jen, let me take care of the FBI goons. Tony, congrats.”

Tony watched Gibbs leave and checked subtly to see that nobody outside could see their mouths. –Mics off?” he mouthed. She nodded and he blinked slowly. –You okay, sweetheart?”

–I’m fine, Tony. It’s just been a long morning. I didn’t quite plan on being escorted out of my office when I rolled out of bed.” She wanted to throw herself in his arms, and let him hold her until this was over, but they both had to stay strong and pretend that they weren’t involved. –I’m going to tell you what I told Gibbs. I don’t want any shoe prints on my desk, and don’t get used to sitting in the chair because I’m coming back.”

–This is going to be tough, I want you with me but the FBI is going to have someone on my house. I could probably prove that I wasn’t the one who killed La Grenouille, but I’m not going to toss you under the bus like that. Not until I know who is setting me up. I didn’t do this, Tony, I just need to figure out who did. You need to stay as far away from this as possible, and keep Gibbs out of it too. I know you both want to help me, but if I’m going down I’m not taking you two down with me.”

–You’re not going down, Jen, and the only prints on your desk will be yours, your high heels the last time we played in there.” He tried to give her an encouraging smile before he turned serious.

–Speaking bluntly here, Jen, they’ve had their eyes on you for a while, this didn’t start today. What they know they already know. The only question is if they choose to share what they know with our people. You didn’t kill him, Jenny, and you’re not going down. I know that and there’ll be agents lining up to confess before we’ll allow you to wear this. And I’m not staying away, sorry.”

–You may be acting director, but I’m still your boss. DiNozzo. I want you out of this. And none of you will be copping to a murder you didn’t commit. Is that understood, Agent?” Trying to use her most authoritative voice, she hoped that someday Tony understood. She needed to protect him, because he was right. This wasn’t something spur of the moment, she’d obviously been targeted.

–Get a couple of agents from Norfolk, their best team, and put them on the case. That way, if you get caught sneaking out of my bedroom at three in the morning, you won’t lose your job. Or get pulled into this investigation. I mean it Tony. I don’t want you involved. I can withstand anything, as long as you’re safe.”

–And I’m your lover, Jenny, and I’m protecting you,” Tony replied in a low, dangerous tone of voice. –Trust me, trust Gibbs. We’ll figure out a way to keep us all protected. I have no intention of letting anyone at NCIS going down for this. Neither will Gibbs, and I know your position on the matter. Trust me, Jenny. Trust me.”

He clenched and released his fists a few times, the frustration rising. All he wanted to do was comfort and protect her. –You and your father lost enough to The Frog. It ends here.” He glanced at the window, regretfully.

–Jen, in view of everything and the fact that they probably know, can we convince Gibbs to take the interim directorship?”

–Won’t happen, I tried. I even went low and appealed to his sense of responsibility to his team, to get you out of having to deal with Jeanne. You know, she’s going to be around don’t you? She won’t let it rest until her father’s killer is locked away.”

She hadn’t wanted to send Tony on the undercover mission, but he was the best agent for the job. It had been true misery to watch her boyfriend romance another woman, while having him report in what was going on. She’d dealt with it, and they had been able to move past it, but now the bitch was coming back.

–As much as I don’t want this, you’re in charge Tony. Gibbs has your back, and I’ll do what I can from home. I still have friends who can help me with this. If I am going down, it won’t be without a fight.”

–We could tell Gibbs about us, Jen. Fornell probably will, just to spite us. Isn’t it better coming from the two of us?” Tony nodded, knowing Jeanne would be on the scene. –I’m as prepared as I can be, Jen. It won’t be easy, but what about this assignment has been? Beside you, beside me falling in love with you.” He lowered her voice to an intimate whisper.

–Falling in love with you has been the best thing that ever happened to me, Jenny. I’m not losing you.” The door cracked open and Gibbs looked in, jerking his head toward the FBI agents.

–Time, Jenny. They’re going to escort you off the Navy Yard and then back off. I’ll be over in a little while.” Jethro stepped into the room and looked between her and DiNozzo. –She give you the keys to the kingdom yet, boss?” He gentled his comment with a small smile.

–She is in the room, and doesn’t like to be talked about like she’s a helpless female.” Jen would have stomped her foot, but she’d never live it down. –She’s also going to be back again once this whole mess is cleared up, so neither of you should get too comfortable.”

–Yes, boss.” They both chorused, Jethro giving her a wink. –Don’t worry, Jen. We don’t think you’re a helpless female. You’re the most in command woman I know.”

–She’s fierce.” Tony coughed, shrugging. –We got some things established. Gibbs, can you get the team together someplace far away from prying eyes. We need to have a meeting.”

–Make sure everyone knows what I said, guys. Most of the agents won’t go off the deep end trying to save me, but Ziva and the rest of your team… just let them know that I appreciate the thought but that no one is to go after the FBI. I want my team in tact when I’m allowed back here.”

–But you won’t be allowed back here, Jennifer.” Fornell gave her a small smirk, knowing he wasn’t defusing the situation, but he had to be in line, for now anyway. –I’m escorting you home, Ms. Shepard. Come along now.”

–Give me a few more minutes, we’re not done here.” Jen had no intention of being rushed, not when she had her team behind her. –Jethro, would you walk Fornell back out for me? And Tobias, remember, it’s still Director Shepard. With or without my title, I still outrank you, and will only allow you to push me around so far before I start pushing back.”

–Sure thing.” Jethro nodded. –I’ll see you soon, Jenny. Until then, remember what we discussed.”

–Search for bugs, don’t lose my tail, stay out of trouble. Yes, I know, Jethro. This isn’t my first rodeo.” Rolling her eyes, she knew he meant well so she couldn’t get too angry at him. –I’ve done this before, I’m not a probie. I’ll keep my nose clean and I’ll try not to worry too much about what you two are doing without me here to keep the peace. No storming any government buildings. Am I understood?”

–Yes, Jen.” Jethro leaned in, clasped her shoulders, and gave her a very gentle kiss on the cheek. When he pulled away, he caught Fornell’s eye. The FBI agent was smirking. –Find something funny, Fornell?”

–You have no idea.”

–Fill me in.” Jethro stalked toward him and Tobias held his hands up in surrender.

–Not my tale to tell, Jethro.”

–Then shut it,” Jethro growled, stalking back toward the bullpen.

–He knows, Jen. Don’t let him bait you, and remember how I feel about you.” Tony wanted to touch her, to hold her, both for himself and for Jen, but he knew she wouldn’t appreciate that in public. He leaned in closer. –Jenny, I love you. Don’t forget. I’ll be over as soon as I can.”

–With pizza, I know. And it’s not really Fornell that I’m worried about. He understands what’s going on, he’s been railroaded himself. He might even be a good ally, if you can get past your dislike for the man.” Jen thought she was reading the situation right, but so she wasn’t doing so well on reading things today. She had no clue what was going when the FBI came in to search her office, because that was the last place she’d hide something if she were going to kill a man. –I love you, Tony, and I’m very proud of you for coming in and taking over as director. I know this isn’t how you expected it to happen, but you’re going to be great at it. They might not want me back once they have you sitting behind that desk.”

–We’ll all want you back, Jenny. Hang tough.” He hated leaving but he had to, turning around and walking out, giving Fornell a dirty look.

–Come on, Tobias. I’ll let you drive me home. That way you know that I won’t have a chance to lose the probies you’re putting on me. If you’re a good boy, I’ll let you buy me a cup of coffee and you can tell me why you think you can prosecute me.”

–Sure you don’t want your young lover taking that job, Jenny?” Tobias asked with a look. –Naughty naughty. You get up to a lot of trouble in the kitchen, and the bedroom, your office. Who knew DiBozzo liked you to use a strap-on. Our surveillance is top notch. You might want to keep that in mind.”

–Jealous, Tobias. What young thing is waiting at home for you to come home so she can fuck your brains out?” Jen knew Tobias had been single since his divorce from Gibbs’ ex-wife, which was probably why he was watching her sex life so closely. –I know a few women who would overlook your obvious shortcomings if you’re interested. They love children, so you wouldn’t have to worry about Emily. But it’s quite obvious you need to get laid. You’d be much less uptight if you were getting some on a regular basis. And I don’t just mean screwing over the director of another organization.”

Tobias just gave her a dirty look. –I’ve been trying to help you, Jennifer. That can change if you insist on being insulting. You need to remember that I hold all the cards at the moment and you’re powerless. Your little boy toy is just a figurehead.”

–Someone sold you the wrong deck of cards, Tobias. I’m innocent, and until someone realizes that you’ll have to excuse the insults.” She promised that she wouldn’t let the FBI agent goad her, but it was difficult. –Tony is the acting director of NCIS, not a figure head. You wouldn’t sound that way if Gibbs was the acting director, so I expect you to treat him the same way. Do that, and my lawyers and I will be as cooperative as we can, to help you catch the real killer.”

–Gibbs is an idiot if he let DiNutzo take over.” That was all Tobias said as he escorted her out. It didn’t matter what he felt or what his opinion was.

Jethro found the team in the bullpen. –Okay, guys. You have questions, I have answers. Not here though. My place, get away as soon as you can. Ducky, I don’t think bringing Palmer in is a good idea. Yes, we have problems, but we’ll fix it.”

Tony looked grim as he walked off the elevator. –Where are we meeting?” he asked as he approached Gibbs.

–My place. As soon as you can.”

–Make it a half hour at most, people,” Tony replied, sounding every bit the leader. Jethro was damn proud of him. He turned away and walked briskly out of an NCIS he felt he no longer understood.
Chapter End Notes:
We do not own any characters from NCIS. If you recognize a character, we didn't create them. If you don't recognize a character and you like them, we made them up. If you don't recognize a character and hate them, we have no idea where they came from. Please don't sue us!
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