Based on the TV Show "NCIS"

Sorry about the delay, work has been work; my surfboard was broken but it got fixed in time for the surf to pick up finally, so I have been surfing a bit, and my car decided to break but that also got fixed after a few days and a few hundred dollars later…then to make things more fun I wasn't sure what I was going to write about. I had a vague idea but…well, anywho.


Chapter 6: Braids

Jenny was writing up a report on the team's latest case involving a petty officer whose wife had reported missing but they ended up finding tied up in a hotel with his girlfriend…she was rather glad that the case had come after Christmas rather than before since that would have just made a rotten situation even worse. However it had taken all of her resolve not to laugh when they had found him tied to the bed with red ribbon and in a Santa Claus beard and hat.

It was just two days until the new year; she was thankful that she had Noemi because otherwise she did not know how she would have the food ready. She and Jethro had decided to have Christmas and his and Kelly's home and New Year's Eve at hers. It had been the happiest Christmas she had had since her father's death four years before.

She shook her head to rid herself of where that particular train of thought would lead her and attempted to just remember the wonderful memories of just four days before.


The redhead looked up at the familiar voice calling her name and could not help grinning at the form that darted around her desk to bounce up beside her. "Kelly, do you need something?" The young girl had been spending an inordinate amount of time at NCIS due to her school's holiday break, and Maddie and Tom's families being out of town.

Kelly nodded. "I have riding class this afternoon and I was wondering if you could French braid my hair for me?"

Jenny set down her pen. "Of course."

The teen gave her a brilliant smile. "Thank you so much!" She jogged over to Stan's empty desk and pulled his chair over so that she was sitting in front of Jenny behind her desk. "Normally Maddie's mom would do it for me, but," she shrugged, "ya know." She handed Jenny a comb and brush.

"Mmm," Jenny acknowledged as she gathered the long brown locks in her hands. "Do you want one braid or two?"

Kelly bit her lip judiciously before glancing over her shoulder. "Can you do two into one?"

The woman nodded. "That is doable." Her hands expertly parted her hair, tying one half off to the side and began working on the other half.

"So, the new year is almost here," the girl began. "What have you thought of the last one?"

Jenny's lips twitched. "Well," she drew this word out a bit, teasingly. "It has certainly been interesting with many unexpected things happening."

"Not bad unexpected though, right?" There was the faintest note of insecurity in Kelly's tone that had Jenny leaning forward and pressing a kiss to the top of her head.

"No, not bad at all."

Kelly looked back at her with a joyful grin before Jenny gently directed her to face back forward.

"What do you think about the team?"

Jenny's lips twitched at Kelly's seemingly never-ending questions. This girl was definitely her father's daughter. "Decker and I get along well. Though I think he will either be getting his own team soon or at least be assigned elsewhere."

"Hmm," Kelly gave a nod of agreement, which was cut short by Jenny stilling her head. "What about Dad?" She wore a look of false innocence.

She leaned around Kelly's shoulder giving her a look. "I think you know very well how things are going with your dad."

Kelly giggled as Jenny sat back in her seat and got back to work.

"What about Stan?"

"Stan doesn't really like me much."

Kelly attempted to look back at her but was stopped again by Jenny. "Why not?"

"Well, because technically he is more senior than I am but your father treats me more like the senior agent. And Stan thinks that it is because of our relationship."

Jenny could just see Kelly rolling her eyes. "Yeah right." Since that first fight Kelly had witnessed several others between her father and Jenny, though, as Kelly had remarked a few days ago, they mostly argued about work-related things and not so much about their personal life. "Maybe if he grew a pair dad would start taking him seriously."

Jenny's jaw dropped. "Kelly!"

Kelly made an "oops" face, though not a particularly regretful one, before replacing it with a matter-of-fact face. "Well, it's true."

Jenny stared at her a moment longer before shaking her head, turning Kelly's head to face forward again and going back to braiding. "Perhaps, but that's not really a ladylike thing to say."

Kelly got very quiet.

Jenny stilled again, analyzing her sentence in her head before closing her eyes; realizing how her sentence may have sounded…or more likely whom she may have sounded like. "Kelly?" she asked softly.

The teen bit her lip. "Mommy used to say things like that…about being 'ladylike.'"

Jenny swallowed hard, wondering for the hundredth time if she was really up to the challenge of possibly living in the shadow of a woman she did not know.

Kelly turned the chair to look at her more easily. "I hurt you." There was a near horrified tone in her voice.

The redhead swallowed again before shaking her head negatively. "No, Kelly."

"Yes, I did!" the girl disagreed. "I didn't mean to. I actually like it but it also reminds me of Mommy and that makes me sad but it also kinda makes me happy…" There was a troubled look on her face. "It's really kinda confusing."

Jenny ran a hand over the half-finished hairstyle. "It's alright Kelly." She looked down, taking a deep breath. "I can only imagine how this is for you; I don't know that I would have reacted half as well as you have to my relationship with your father if my father had become involved with a woman that I knew about."

Kelly smiled at her. "I like you Jenny." She bit her lip. "I'd really like it if you stayed around for a while."

Jenny grinned. "I'd like that too." She gave her a one-armed hug before turning the chair back around and getting back to work on the braids.


Kelly had asked Jenny to come with them to her horseback riding lesson and Jethro had quietly encouraged it. So, of course, she had said yes. She had found herself enjoying watching Kelly working on jumping, while Jethro quietly explained some of the basics of riding and what was involved in jumping in particular.

None of this, however, explained how she came to be standing next to one of the large animals in a pair of boots being talked through how to mount the creature.

After her lesson was over Kelly had asked to go on a ride, which Jethro had agreed to and had said he would also like to go. Jenny had smiled and told them to have a good time…and that had somehow landed her in the position she was in now.

Jethro was nearby putting the saddle on his horse, and – she could tell – attempting to hide the mirth on his face.

She narrowed her eyes. Well, now she had to go through with this.

She took a deep breath and – after three tries and a boost from one of the instructors – managed to get into the saddle. They then began showing her the different signals to give the horse to make her go, stop and turn…making her feel rather embarrassed in the process considering how she had just seen her lover's 13 year old daughter jumping her horse over different obstacles with little instruction at all. Eventually she got the hang of it enough that they said she was ready to go on the ride – after assuring her that the horse she was on was the gentlest, best trained and steadiest one they had; that the trail was an easy one and that Jethro and Kelly were both very accomplished riders who would be able to help her. Their assessment of Jethro was immediately backed up by the ease with which he swung up into the saddle, automatically settled himself into it and arranged the reins in his hand. Damn it, it should be against the law for a man to look that sexy.

They headed off at a slow pace; Jethro staying beside her with Kelly on his other side, both keeping pace with Jenny. Kelly got antsy and would occasionally pick the pace up a bit and ride out in front of them, before either coming to a stop and waiting for them or trotting back to them.

"If she could, she would probably take this ride at a gallop or at least a canter," he told her; then had to explain what a canter was.

"She likes to go fast, doesn't she?" Humor rang in her voice.

He nodded.

She lifted an eyebrow. "Like father, like daughter."

He gave her a look, which, as usual, just rolled off of her.

"She says it's like flying."

"Did her mother like to ride?" It slipped out before she had a chance to check herself. "I didn't –"

"Yes, she did," he said simply, ending her semi-apology.

They continued on in silence, save for the interruptions when Kelly rejoined them and started her usual chatter.

All the while, the question that had been plaguing Jenny was echoing in the back of her mind…

Could she really do this?


And I end it with TENSION! ;P I'm in a wacky mood. Anywho. We see the "specter of the past" so to speak. Jenny finally asks a question about Shannon and Gibbs actually answers it…without detail of course. Whether or not they will all be able to deal with that past is yet to be seen… I hope that you enjoyed the chapter!

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