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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:09 am 
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Medical Examiner
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Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:17 am
Posts: 1518
Location: Michigan
Name: Kelly
Gender: Female
Title: Rock Creek Passions
Rating: FR13
Characters: Appearances by most of the team, plus a few more...
Disclaimer: I do not own NCIS.

Summary: In the east coast town of Washington D.C., every agent of NCIS is linked in an infinite chain of love, deceit and misfortune. Lives are turned upside down when a happy occasion marks the onslaught of revealed sins, double lives and secrets that should have remained buried in the past. Prompt Fill: NCIS as a Soap Opera. Very AU.

Prompt: Written for SongBirdie-101’s third prompt:
Quote:
3.) Gen/Romance: “When did our lives become a Soap Opera?”; Your prompt is to take some of the staples of soap operas, like people coming back from the dead, long held secrets being unburied in the worst way possible, unknown children, epic & tragic love affairs, long lost relatives, feuds, lies, and scandal, and apply them to the NCIS team. Say, for example, Tony got Ziva pregnant but she’s in love with McGee, who married Delilah, but is in love with Abby, who’s in love with Gibbs, who wants his dead wife back, but, it turns out she was never dead! And suddenly there’s all these strange relatives coming out of the wood work. Crossovers encouraged for this prompt, any of the ones I’ve listed, and more can be talked about later. Any seasons, any characters, and for this prompt I’ll take any pairing(s) but threesomes/moresomes. Just about anything goes.


Rock Creek Passions


Clumsy fingers fumbled with the fabric, and he almost laughed at his nervousness. It was ridiculous, of course. He’d done this so many times before. Four, actually, if anyone was counting. And he was pretty sure that everyone was counting. He’d been reminded on more than a dozen occasions, in one form or another, that he was a veteran at this marriage thing. He knew that, of course. His fiancé knew it too. The both of them laughed at all the naysayers and doubters, and they let their words roll off their backs.

Well, at least Jenny did. Gibbs burned the name of every single person who openly mocked their marriage into memory. He knew it was bound to come in handy one day. He was marrying the Director of NCIS, after all. He’d make sure to use his new position of influence over anyone who had dared piss him off.

And this marriage had pissed off plenty of people.

Because not everyone was wrong… this marriage was probably more out of convenience than love. For both of them. Scuttlebutt was always a problem, but the rumors swarming around Jenny had hit a little too close to home: taking bribes, sanctioning off-the-book surveillance of foreign nationals, and intimate relations of a subordinate (a female subordinate) were just the tip of the iceberg. When Ziva started being harassed at work, well… it hadn’t taken Jenny long to begin pulling strings and weaving a carefully planned web to give her the utmost protection.

A wedding hadn’t been her first choice, but she and Ziva shared too strong a history (the gaps of time in the shared mission in Cairo were too hard to ignore, and thus far been unexplainable). She and Gibbs had their own history, of course. Paris the most obvious example of the passion they were capable of sharing, and consequently a deal had been made. An exchange of vows for an exchange of privileges. Gibbs had always toed the line of what was legal and what was not. That would no longer be a problem.

The term full immunity and means came to mind.

The ceremony was still 20 minutes away, but he could hear the guests arriving beyond the closed doors. He and his groomsmen had been set up in the church’s nursery, of all places, but on this beautiful Saturday afternoon it was devoid of Sunday School songs and screaming children. It was oddly devoid of his groomsmen as well, but he knew they’d return when they were needed.

He walked over and peered out the door at the mingling attendees, looking for one in particular. The service was going to be small, with only a few friends and family present. She’d promised she wouldn’t come, but there was something in his gut telling him otherwise. He couldn’t put it to words; hell, he could barely organize the jumbled thoughts in his own mind. And though the last several minutes of being alone had been refreshing (honestly, his agents-turned-groomsmen could be a bit overbearing at times), he found himself wishing for someone to join him and give him a distraction from his restlessness and sense of unease.

Shaking his head, he shut the door and walked back toward the too-small bathroom, with its kid-friendly sink and mini mirror, to try his hand at the bow tie again. It wasn’t an ideal location for preparing to look your best for your bride-to-be and your fifty guests, but he supposed it was better that he were here and his fiancé had the better digs in the prayer room. At least he hoped that she had a full sized toilet to use.

“Leroy?”

Gibbs jumped as someone called his name. Male, not female. Not her. He let out a breath.

“In here, dad.”

Gibbs poked his head out of the bathroom to see his father strolling towards him. His wardrobe frustrations must have shown on his face, because in seconds his dad’s hands were reaching for his throat, snagging the loose tie ends and expertly folding them together.

“You never could get this right,” he mumbled, and Gibbs smirked. “There. All set.”

After checking himself out in the mirror and giving his dad a small nod of thanks, Gibbs strolled around the nursery, picking up various toys and setting them down again. It had to be nearly time for the ceremony to begin… where were his groomsmen?

“You nervous, son?”

Gibbs looked up to see his dad smiling knowingly at him. “Not really,” he shrugged with an attempt at nonchalance.

“You’re pacing.”

“This is not pacing,” Gibbs corrected. “This is walking.”

“I saw you looking out at the guests,” his dad continued, his voice taking on a suspicious tone. “Looking for anyone in particular? A certain Lieutenant Colonel, perhaps?”

“Not now, dad,” Gibbs stated with a touch of warning. Of course his dad had to have dropped by the one time Hollis had stayed the night. It was foolish of them to be so bold, and they’d not ventured outside of their favorite meeting spot (a sweet little motel that accepted cash and asked few questions) since. Gibbs didn’t feel like defending himself regarding his extra-curricular love life right now.

He ignored his dad’s harrumph and picked up a baby doll that had been tossed carelessly into a toy crib. As he smoothed her dress down, he realized with a pang of loss that he recognized it. Red hair and blue eyes. A pink dress with all the frills and lace that a four year old would love. It had been one of Kelly’s favorites.

“Shannon would be happy for you, you know.”

“Would she?” Gibbs kept his back to his father, happy for the change of subject, as he carefully set the doll back into its crib. “I don’t know.”

Jenny is a fine lady,” his dad continued, and Gibbs didn’t miss the emphasis he put on his future wife’s name. Looks like they weren’t dropping the topic of Hollis after all.

“Dad-”

“Look, I’m not going to lecture you again on your life choices, son.” Gibbs felt a hand on his shoulder as his father continued. “I just want to make sure you’re following your heart.”

“It’s not my heart that’s the problem,” Gibbs commented, and he felt the odd sense of foreboding fall over him again.

“Oh, the infamous gut then? Well, what does your gut tell you?”

Gibbs finally turned and looked at his dad. “That something big is about to happen.”

“Well, getting married is a life changer, Leroy,” he said kindly. “Perhaps your gut is just nervous.”

Gibbs didn’t think so, but he didn’t want to argue the point. Why was he so bent on punting a damper on today, anyway? So much time and effort had been put into this thing, and though he hadn’t been thrilled in adding another marriage to his ledger, Gibbs was still getting a sweet deal as a result. There was no reason to worry about what was to come. He was sure he could handle anything that came his way.

Forcing a smile, he covered his dad’s hand with one of his own.

“You’re right, dad. Let’s go round up the guys and get the show on the road.”


X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X


“Tim, I don’t want to talk about this right now.”

“Abs, why not?” Tim asked, and his mouth quirked up in a large smile. “A wedding is a happy occasion! So is a baby. Why are we keeping this a secret? You know how happy everyone is going to be for us.”

Abby sighed and looked away, unable to look at Tim’s happy face any longer. She couldn’t handle his bubbly enthusiasm. His over-eagerness to dote on her day and night. Only 8 weeks had passed since she had told Tim that she was pregnant, and she was already annoyed by the entire thing. She knew how ridiculous that sounded. Abby was well aware of how she should be behaving. But she wasn’t feeling it. She couldn’t feel it.

Not until she knew for sure.

Poor Tim, she thought as she caught his disappointed look out of the corner of her eye. She couldn’t even imagine how much it would destroy him to find out…

But no, Abby rebuked herself silently. He won’t find out. He can’t find out. She’d make sure of that. And until then, well… she couldn’t spread around the ‘happy news’ until she was good and ready.

Putting on her best pouty look (the one she knew Tim could not resist), she turned back to him, sliding one arm delicately around his waist. “Timmy, I don’t want to take away the happiness from Gibbs! It’s his wedding day! We don’t need to fight for everyone’s attention.”

“Abby,” Tim interrupted, raising his eyebrows in suspicion. “You always want attention.”

He said it good-naturedly, but it was the best opening Abby was going to get to flee this conversation. She whipped her hand away and stomped her foot for effect.

“Tim!” Abby practically shouted, and was secretly pleased with Tim took a half-step away from her. “That wasn’t a very nice thing to say! I don’t always have to be the center of attention!”

Even if that were true, she certainly was now. Other guests were pausing as they strolled by, giving concerned glances at the couple while Tim tried to calm his over-emotional wife. Abby wouldn’t let him.

“I know when things aren’t about me, Tim, and today isn’t about me. Or you. It’s about Gibbs and Director Shepard. And if you can’t be happy for them, well… then, I don’t want to be with you right now!”

She turned to storm away, luckily able to hide the pleased smile, but Tim grabbed her arm before she could complete her escape.

“Abby, I’m sorry. You’re right. I’m sorry,” Tim bumbled, and Abby felt the guilt creeping up from her stomach.

“No, I’m sorry,” she said, and she found that she genuinely meant it. She loved Tim, she really, really did. And she wanted nothing more than to have bunches of children with him and grow really, really old together. She just didn’t know if she was any closer to achieving either of those things than she was 8 weeks ago.

“You know how emotional pregnant women can be,” she started, and then added with a laugh, “and I was already emotional before that!”

Tim was already putting his arms around her and pulling her close. She cherished moments like these… when the outside world melted away and it was just the two of them. Tim knew how to ground her when she needed it, but the small sense of guilt in her stomach continued to grow the more she accepted his quiet reassurances that he understood… that they didn’t need to tell anyone until she was ready… and that he loved her more than anything else.

It’ll all be okay, she told herself. Though she’d need more than one of Tim’s hugs to right her wrongs, she supposed.

The sound of someone clearing his throat finally parted her from Tim’s embrace, and she turned to see Ducky smiling brightly at the two of them.

“Ah, young love,” he said wistfully. “Such a fine couple the two of you make.”

“Thanks Ducky,” Tim replied, keeping one arm wrapped snugly around Abby’s waist. “Was there something you needed?”

“I don’t mean to interrupt your time together, but I was rather hoping I could spend just a few moments speaking with Abigail?”

“Oh, uh, sure.” Tim gave Abby a small peck on the cheek before walking away, leaving Abby and Ducky relatively alone among the dwindling crowd. Almost everyone had entered the sanctuary and taken their seats.

“What’s up, Duckman?”

“I won’t keep you long, my dear, but I was curious if you had had the opportunity to run those tests I had given to you earlier?”

Abby waved at Assistant Director Vance as he strolled by with his wife before giving Ducky her full attention. “Right! The blood test. They were a match,” she said with a smile, though it faded as she watched the color drain from Ducky’s face. “Ducky? Are you okay?”

“Oh yes, dear, yes, I’m fine,” he said with as much enthusiasm as he could muster.

“Who needed these results again?” she asked skeptically.

“My niece,” Ducky stated a bit too quickly.

“Riiight.” Abby perked up. “Well, this is good news for your niece then! Now she has proof of who her father is. She’ll be thrilled! Right?”

“You’re right, Abigail,” Ducky said, brightening up just a little bit. He put a hand on her shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze before pulling away. “You’re absolutely right. I shall endeavor to call her after this evening’s festivities. And I shall thank you for keeping this quiet, my dear.”

Abby shrugged. “No problem! Anything you for you, Ducky, you know that.”

Abby was happy to see Ducky perking up a bit the longer they talked. Too soon it was time to part ways and find their own seats for the ceremony, but not before Ducky thanked Abby once again for her discretion. He turned to go but wasn’t able to get far before Abby’s voice called out to him.

“Oh, and Ducky? Jimmy was looking for you earlier.”

Ducky’s step faltered and he stopped suddenly. Abby couldn’t see his face, but she could see his shoulders tense and watched in fascination as his hands clenched and unclenched several times before he turned around.

“Oh?” he croaked before clearing his throat again, glancing at Abby over his shoulder. “Was he?”

“Yup. He came without a date, too,” Abby said knowingly, her eyebrows waggling. “He lo…,” she stumbled over her words a bit, not wishing to betray the confidence she held. “He cares about you a lot, Ducky. Maybe if you-”

“Thank you for telling me, Abigail. It is a small wedding, after all. I’m sure I’ll see Mr. Palmer soon enough.”

“You can’t avoid him forever, you know.”

“No,” Ducky said more to himself than to Abby as he walked away. “I suppose I cannot.”


X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X


At the request of the bride and groom, the minister was to keep the ceremony short. Reviewing his notes, he couldn’t help but notice the lack of Bible verses, poems, or any sort of declarations of love outside the standard exchange of vows. He barely knew the couple outside of a few simple facts: they worked together, he had been married before, but had no children, and they wanted to keep things simple.

Simple he could do. But this? It was beyond simple. It was generic. Boring. Practically heartless.

Sighing, the minister checked his watch and stood, pulling on his ceremonial robes and entering the sanctuary through his office door. The groom was already standing at the ready, and the minister could see the military posture in his stance. Shaking hands briefly, the two stood silent as the organist began playing and the bridal party entered. Modern apparel, but nothing too outrageous. The minister had seen his fair share of inappropriate attire in his sanctuary. He was merely thankful that the women’s breasts were where they should be... hidden beneath tasteful dresses, thank you very much.

The doors were closed, the music stopped and the bride and groom turned toward him.

It was show time.

“Dearly beloved, we have come together in the presence of God to witness the joining together of this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony. Marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.

“Into this union, Jennifer and Leroy now come to be joined. If any of you can show just cause why they may not be lawfully wed, speak now, or else forever hold your peace.”

He paused for only a moment, intending to continue immediately on to the vows when the doors flew open. There were shocked gasps and some attendees stood to get a better look at the newcomer. Somehow the minister knew what was coming before the words were spoken.

“I object!”

He nearly rolled his eyes at the clichéd intrusion. Boring ceremony? Not anymore…

This just got interesting.


To be continued.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:00 am 
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Medical Examiner
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Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:17 am
Posts: 1518
Location: Michigan
Name: Kelly
Gender: Female
Chapter Two

Tony took a long pull from his flask before storing it back inside his tuxedo jacket. This day certainly had all the fixings of a movie in the making: a wedding between two unlikely lovers interrupted at the most perfect moment imaginable, followed immediately by the groom running off without a single thought, or glance for that matter, at his fiancé or anyone else seated in the chapel. Shocked murmurs quickly turned into shameful gossip, and the bride and the rest of the wedding party wisely hid themselves away in various rooms throughout the church, trying to figure out what they should do next.

Tony, for his part, was ready to drink a little more before heading to the reception. Gibbs had already paid for the banquet. He figured the guests might as well enjoy themselves, even if the reason for celebrating had been canceled.

He smiled as Ziva poked her head inside and, upon seeing her boyfriend within, quickly shut the door behind her, leaning against it with a heavy sigh.

“It is a mess, Tony. A complete mess. What was Gibbs thinking?”

Tony shrugged. “He’s Gibbs. I try not to get inside his head. Where is the Director?”

“Currently being hugged by Abby,” she stated as she moved away from the door.

“Ah, not sure if a hug from Abby can fix this situation.” Tony shook his head. “Any idea on where Gibbs ran off to?”

“None.”

“Well, it’s probably a good idea that you’re in here with me than off comforting Director Shepard yourself,” he stated. “Don’t need to reinsert that rumor into the mix. Unless, of course, you’d like that,” Tony said, waggling his eyes at her playfully.

“That was a long time ago. That boat has sailed,” Ziva explained, and Tony held back a snort of laughter. “I no longer have feelings for Director Shepard.”

“I know,” Tony said, all traces of humor gone. “I know exactly where your feelings lie, Ziva.”

His tone of voice must have given something away because Ziva was suddenly eying him carefully. A moment passed before she offered him a sultry smile, and he did his best to smile in return. It was what he was good at, after all. Hiding his true feelings. He wasn’t lying… he knew that his girlfriend’s heart was holding out for someone else. She hid it well… so well, in fact, that many months had gone by before Tony had been made aware of her feelings.

It had been Paula who had been kind enough to point out the obvious to him: Ziva was in love with McGee.

Tony had laughed it off at first. McGee? And Ziva? Please. Tim was over-the-moon in love with Abby, and he was pretty certain the two McGeeks were planning on starting a family soon. But after Paula had told him about the night Ziva had confided in her the true feelings she held for McGee, Tony couldn’t help but notice the way she looked at him when they were in the bullpen together. How she often took Tim’s side when Tony was lightheartedly teasing him.

Maybe he had needed Paula to plant the seed into his mind, but it was Ziva’s behavior that had solidified it for him.

Ziva was in love with McGee.

Well, he thought, this was something he needed to address. Immediately. But how? Was he willing to let Ziva go, to be happy? Or was he willing to fight for her? He mulled it over silently as Ziva, clearly bored with her critical assessment of him, walked over to the door and peeked back out, watching confused wedding guests argue over the etiquette of returning wedding gifts.

Mind made up, he called to her.

“What is it, Tony?”

“I’m thinking something… and I’d like to discuss it with you.”

“Right now?” she asked, shutting the door behind her again and moving toward him slowly.

“Seems like a good time. I have nowhere else to be at the moment.”

“Very well,” she conceded. “I actually have something I wish to discuss with you as well.”

“Oh really?” Tony asked, raising his eyebrows. “Okay then. I have an idea. Why don’t we say what we’re both thinking together.”

“Together?”

“Yeah, like at the same time.”

“Why in the world would we do that?”

“Well,” he said, moving in so they were standing mere inches apart. “I have a feeling we are thinking the same thing.”

Ziva shrugged. Tony could tell that she was willing to go along with anything at this point to move this along. “Fine, Tony. We can say it together.”

“On the count of three then,” Tony said, smiling. “One… Two… Three!”

“I think we should move in together.”

“I think we should see other people.”


X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X


“Explain it again, Tobias. Slowly.”

“Glory, Gibbs, which part?” Fornell complained, gripping the passenger door handle so tightly his knuckles were turning white. He was seriously questioning his sanity after he’d agreed to let Gibbs drive after they’d made their quick escape from the church, leaving a shocked bride-to-be and scandalous whispers in their wake. Although, he didn’t envy Agent McGee’s job of explaining the situation to Director Shepard. No, he’d much rather risk his life with Gibbs than experience the wrath of that woman scorned.

“The part where you said Shannon is alive!” Gibbs loudly clarified.

Fornell pinched the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath. “I told you… I found her completely by accident. If my suspect had been any smarter, I wouldn’t have been in that hospital in the first place. I almost didn’t recognize her,” he added quietly.

Gibbs was silent for a moment as he dodged around two cars that had slowed down for a stop sign that he clearly had no intention of stopping at.

“Tell me more.”

“Gibbs, I… I don’t know much myself yet. The nurse on duty told me that she had been dropped off the day before by men who looked like ‘Damn Spooks’ – her words, not mine.”

“CIA?”

“I don’t think so,” Tobias shuffled in his seat to pull a white business card out of his back pocket. He flipped it in his hands a moment before waving it toward Gibbs, who spared half a glance his way. “The ‘Spook’ the nurse spoke of left her his card, told her to call him immediately if anyone came asking about her. I managed to convince her not to call him on my account, but not sure if I’ll get away with it when I show up with you.”

“What the hell is she mixed up in?” Gibbs fumed loudly as he risked tossing a glare at Tobias.

“Hey, watch it Gibbs!” Tobias shouted, pointing at a delivery truck that had unwisely assumed Gibbs was going to obey traffic laws. “I already told you I didn’t get the full details from the staff before I left. I got a few medical highlights, but once I found out who she was, I came right to you. I knew I had to tell you before you said ‘I do.’”

“Dammit, Tobias, I need more information!” Gibbs demanded, snatching the business card from Tobias’ hand and tossing it back at him almost as quickly. “I don’t recognize the logo on that card. Who are they? Is that where she’s been this whole time? Why didn’t she tell me she was alive? And what about Kelly?”

Tobias closed his eyes in annoyance. “Oh, gee, Gibbs, those questions didn’t even cross my mind,” he said sarcastically. “I thought you’d like to know that your wife is alive before I started interrogating her on where she’s been and what she’s been up to!”

“Alright, alright, enough,” Gibbs sighed. “Is she…” Gibbs swallowed hard, trying to find his voice again. “What else did the nurse tell you? Is Shannon going to be okay?”

“Well, yeah, physically she’s fine, but…”

“Nevermind. We’re here,” Gibbs interrupted, only barely bothering to put the car into park before leaping out of it and sprinting towards the hospital entrance. Tobias thanked his lucky stars that they’d arrived in one piece before stepping out of the car himself.

“Wait! There’s something you should know first,” Tobias tried yelling toward Gibbs, but he was either too far behind to be heard, or else he was being ignored. Either way, Fornell increased his pace, only to finally catch up to Gibbs as he was being ushered by a harried nurse.

“She is only awake for short periods of time,” she was explaining.

“Has she asked for me?” Gibbs asked, and Tobias felt a pang in his chest. Damn Gibbs and his ability to get to the heart of the matter before he was ready.

The nurse was spared the awkwardness of answering when they arrived at Shannon’s room. For a long moment, Gibbs stared through the glass windows into her room where his not-dead wife lay sleeping. Tobias placed a hand on his friend’s shoulder in silent support before Gibbs slipped inside the room, Tobias quietly on his heels.

“Gibbs, there’s something I need to tell you,” Tobias urged as Gibbs dragged a chair close to Shannon’s bed and fell into it, scooping up her hand and grasping it in both of his.

“I don’t understand,” Gibbs was saying more to himself than to Fornell. “She looks… she looks the same as the last time I saw her. How? How is she alive?”

Tobias remained silent, unable to venture any guesses on any of it, but Gibbs was right. Shannon looked as though she hadn’t aged a day over the past 16 years. But Fornell had more pressing matters than to uncover that mystery.

“Please, Gibbs, before she wakes…”

But luck was no longer on Fornell’s side as Shannon’s eyes fluttered open. Her glazed eyes blinked up at the ceiling and shifted around the room before finally landing on Gibbs. She smiled a little, and Fornell held his breath. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all…

“Hello,” she whispered.

“Shannon,” Gibbs said brokenly.

“Do I know you?”

Fornell’s stomach dropped as quickly as Gibbs had released her hand. Yet Gibbs recovered quickly, retaking her hand in his and giving it a small squeeze.

“It’s me, Shannon. Jethro.”

“I’m sorry,” Shannon said, and Tobias was surprised to see how much she meant it. Her eyes soaked in the heartbroken face of the man before her, and she patted Gibbs’ hand in a reassuring manner. “I was told that I have some missing memories,” she explained softly. “You must be one of them.”

Her simple explanation brought a pained smile to Gibbs’ face, but he nodded in acceptance.

“Of course,” he said sadly. “I’m… well, I’m… just glad you’re okay,” he finished.

Shannon smiled politely, but seemed a little bit confused by the enigma that was Gibbs. She curiously looked around the room once before her eyes landed back on the mystery man currently clinging to her hand. “Where’s my daughter?” she asked, and Gibbs’ eyes widened.

“You remember Kelly?”

Shannon nodded. “Of course I do. It’s hard to forget a 23-year-old force of nature,” she said wistfully. Then, misinterpreting Gibbs’ alarmed look, she quickly explained, “You’d understand if you’d met her. Where is she?”

Gibbs swallowed and snuck a glance at Tobias. He minutely shook his head in response, not sure what advice he could possibly give to the other man now. Explaining to your amnesiac wife that her daughter was dead… that was a whole new level of uncharted territory for Fornell.

“Shannon, I…,” Gibbs began, unsure of what to say. His inability to speak sparked something in Shannon, however, and she began to panic.

“I was just with her!” she shouted, then narrowed her eyes suspiciously. “What did you do to her? She was with me, and then… and then, she wasn’t. And I woke up here! Who are you? Where is she? Where is my daughter? Kelly?! KELLY!”

“Wait, Kelly is alive?” Fornell asked over her growing hysterics. Gibbs’ eyes only widened in response to this additional piece of news, but he was too busy trying to calm Shannon down to do much of anything else. Alarms began to blare and medical staff quickly filled the room, shoving Gibbs and Fornell aside as they set to work sedating their panic-stricken patient.

Only once she was asleep did Gibbs rise from her side and join Fornell at the foot of her bed.

“Tobias,” he began, but Fornell cut him off with a wave of his hand.

“I’ll take care of it, Gibbs,” he assured him, grabbing his jacket and slipping it on. Patting Gibbs on the back, he strolled purposefully out of the room and toward the exit. He had young woman to find.


X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X


To say that finding out that your fiancé’s dead wife is actually alive was a shock would have been the understatement of the decade. Director Jennifer Shepard had seen much in her lifetime – death, destruction, the consequences of betrayal, and the allure of forbidden love – but never, never, had she seen a women come back from the dead.

After hounding the full story out of Special Agent McGee, Jenny had fumed silently for a few moments, but eventually the anger and confusion was too much and she stormed out of the church, but not before snagging her car keys on the way out. Slamming the door behind her, she rested her head on the steering wheel to calm herself before driving…

Where? She only just realized that she had no idea where Gibbs had gone to. His basement was his usual place of solace, it was rather unlikely that he’d be anywhere else than by Shannon’s side. The FBI wouldn’t storm in and ruin her wedding just to take Gibbs off to work on another one of his bloody boats.

She felt her blood pressure rising to epic heights and she willed herself to slow her breathing and think logically. She would just call Gibbs. With her cell phone. That she had left in the chapel. Sighing audibly, Jenny was just about to exit her car when she heard the rear door open, someone shuffle into the backseat, and quietly shut the door. She was halfway turned to see who it was when a cold, heavily-accented voice stopped her.

“Hello Jennifer.”

Jenny’s eyes snapped to the rear-view mirror to see a pair of brown eyes staring into hers, and for a moment she couldn’t breathe.

“You look beautiful,” the man said, and the compliment sickened her.

“You look like shit,” Jenny spat back. She took in his haggard appearance… the stubble on his chin, the bags under his eyes, the rumpled shirt he tried to hide under his designer suit jacket. In all the years she had spent pursing this one individual, she had never once seen him look so disheveled.

“What the hell are you doing here?”

He smiled. “I wouldn’t have missed today for the world.”

Jenny’s eyes flickered away from his momentarily toward her glove compartment, calculating how much time it would take to unlock it and retrieve the pistol she kept for times such as these. She had no way of knowing if her surprise passenger was carrying, yet she knew it would be foolish to test him when she was so vulnerable. Maneuverability, thanks to her tight-fitting wedding gown, was not on her side.

“What do you want, Rene?” she asked through clenched teeth, re-locking her gaze with his smug face.

“A great many things, I’m afraid, and only a few of them which you can give me.”

“Oh really?” Jenny asked with raised eyebrows. “Well, you’ll forgive me if I don’t indulge a murderer’s wish list.”

Benoit shook his head, and Jenny thought there was a moment of sadness that flickered in his eyes. She couldn’t contemplate it for long, though, before the moment was gone and the unruffled neutrality had returned.

“My reasoning for being here is two-fold, I admit,” he began, and Jenny hated how comfortable he looked. “First, the business portion of my appearance: I know of your plan,” he said quietly, and Jenny noted that although he appeared composed, his voice carried a deadly weight to it that made the small hairs on her neck stand up. “You will leave Jeanne out of your little vendetta against me.”

“Get out of my car,” she demanded suddenly, her voice dripping with the full authority of the Director of NCIS. She had no idea how he could have possibly known about her undercover plan. She hadn’t even told DiNozzo about it yet. Her circle of trusted colleagues just got smaller, she realized, but it was a problem she’d have to confront at a later time. “Get out NOW.”

“Or what?” Benoit coolly inquired. “You’ll shoot me with the Ruger LCP you have in your locked glove compartment? Or maybe shout for the help of one of your wedding guests? That old man may look harmless, but perhaps your relative is a trained assassin in disguise, yes?”

Benoit chucked as Jenny looked back toward the church. Her uncle Harold was leaning heavily against his cane as he lit up a cigarette, gazing out across the church’s lawn at who-knows-what. Her gut twisted at La Grenouille’s insights into her life, but she reigned in her nerves and returned her cold glare back to the rear of her car.

“What is your second reason?” she growled.

Benoit lifted a single eyebrow in confusion, before nodding and smiling. “Ah yes, the second reason I have come is actually much more personal,” he said with a smile as he leaned slightly forward in his seat. Jenny could feel his breath on her neck as he spoke, his smile widening.

“I told you that I wouldn’t miss today for the world. It’s not every day that a father’s eldest daughter gets married, now is it?”


To be continued.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:47 am 
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Chapter Three

“Was that Director Shepard?”

Jimmy and Ducky sat together on an iron bench below a giant oak tree, simultaneously appreciating the shade while avoiding the turmoil within the church. They’d been enjoying quiet conversation before the sound of rubber squealing against asphalt pulled their attention toward the parking lot. A navy sedan peeled out of the lot, flash of red hair and a white satin dress barely visible as the car sped past the two men.

A lone figure in a dark suit stood silently in the space previously occupied by the director’s car before he, too, climbed into a dark vehicle and drove off in the opposite direction.

“I believe so, my lad,” Ducky replied with a touch of curiosity. “I suppose she is off to find her wayward groom.”

“No one knows where Agent Gibbs went?”

“It appears that way. I have no doubt that he will turn up eventually, Mr. Palmer.”

“I suppose so,” Jimmy nodded in agreement. “I’ve never been to a wedding quite like this before.”

“And you still haven’t,” Ducky pointed out, “as the bride and groom never said their vows. No, I do believe that Jethro and Jenny will have to set a date for another ceremony.”

“Another?” Jimmy shook his head. “I don’t know if I can handle another wedding like this one. It was by far the weirdest.”

“Oh come now, Mr. Palmer, this was hardly weird!” Ducky exclaimed, patting Jimmy’s knee briefly before moving his hands around in a flourish as he told his tale. “I remember a wedding of a colleague of mine’s that I attended, well, it must have been right before you were born. Only the newest and grandest would do for this fellow, and he was just arrogant enough to believe that a wedding officiated by a machine would be a wedding topped by no other.”

“A… machine?” Jimmy questioned.

“Indeed. A vending machine, if I’m not mistaken. For one dollar, couples could be married by this device, voiced by the most emotionless, computerized voice I’ve ever come across. Can you imagine, Mr. Palmer, being given the option to either say ‘I do’ or ‘escape’?” Ducky chuckled softly to himself. “Quite the technological marvel at the time, I assure you, and quite the sham.”

“Were there a lot of people at this wedding?” Jimmy timidly asked.

“Oh no,” Ducky shook his head. “For as much as this associate of mine liked to boast, he had very few friends of which to boast to. It was merely the bride and groom, myself and my beautiful date.” Ducky trailed off, knowing he was treading dangerous ground recounting those times. But talking about those days came easily… he was so happy then, and the memories easily resurfaced.

“The couple had to have an official ceremony, of course, but by that time, my date and I were enjoying ourselves far too much to be bothered to attend. I heard later, of course, that they had to find two strangers to be their witnesses,” Ducky finished with a laugh.

Ducky waited for a minute, but Jimmy did not join in with his laughter. He found that more than a bit odd… Jimmy, unlike many of his other colleagues, often humored him and his stories, occasionally even asking questions. At first, Ducky thought it was because Mr. Palmer wanted to appease his new boss. But eventually he come to see that the Jimmy was genuinely curious and interested in his stories, and Ducky saw the affections for what they were: a young man seeking a mentor and a friend.

And, he knew with a pang, that Jimmy’s affections even went beyond that.

Turning toward his companion, Ducky was surprised to see a confused, and almost alarmed look, on Jimmy’s face.

“Dr. Mallard…” Jimmy started, but he was unable to continue, only opening and closing his mouth silently like a fish out of water.

“What is it, young man?” Ducky asked, growing more alarmed. “Are you all right?”

Jimmy shook his head. “No, I don’t think I am. I don’t understand… I… my…”

Ducky smiled and tentatively put a hand on Jimmy’s shoulder. Ever since he began to see the feelings that the younger man harbored toward him, he’d been a bit reluctant to initiate any physical contact between the two of them.

“Mr. Palmer?”

“I’m sorry, Dr. Mallard, it’s just that…” Jimmy swallowed hard before steeling himself. He sat up tall and looked Ducky in the eye. “It’s just that my mom told me that same story when I was little. A few times, actually… it was one of her favorites.”

Ducky’s heart leapt up into his throat and he felt his pulse quicken, but he kept an outward appearance of calm. Not like this, he thought. He never imagined Jimmy finding out in such a manner. But he supposed he was the one to blame... he'd been bold enough to tell the tale.

“Oh?” Ducky asked, embarrassed at how his voice cracked.

“Yes,” Jimmy said, his resolve growing. “How is it that she told me that same story if only the bride, groom and their two witnesses were present? I always just thought that her date was my dad... I mean, that wedding was 9 months before I was born. But, if you were there too... if it wasn’t my dad, and you were there, then that would mean… that would… Dr. Mallard? I don’t understand. What would that mean?”

Jimmy was becoming a bit unhinged, and Ducky sighed, closing his eyes only momentarily before fixing a reassuring gaze upon the younger man.

“Alright, calm down my lad,” Ducky said with a sigh, gently wrapping a hand around Jimmy’s arm and pulling them both up until they were standing. “Let us go to the reception, where I have been assured there is free alcohol.”

“I’m not much of a drinker,” Jimmy admitted.

“I know, dear boy, but I have another tale I wish to tell you. And at the end of it, you may want a drink.”


X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X


“What a day,” Tim grumbled as he and Abby trudged up the stairs to their apartment. They had decided to forgo the reception, agreeing that the groom unexpectedly disappearing from his own wedding was hardly an occasion to celebrate. Both wished to avoid the awkwardness that was bound to hover over the entire event, so the decision to come home had been an easy one.

“Tell me about it,” Abby said softly just behind him and Tim turned to look over his shoulder at his wife, who was dragging her feet up the stairs.

Tim stopped and reached out a supportive hand that Abby promptly swatted away. “Do you need help, Abs?”

“Oh please, the baby is the size of a kumquat right now. It’s hardly giving me any trouble at the moment. Stop fussing, Tim.”

Tim could tell that Abby’s rant had come out a bit harsher than she intended, so he said nothing in reply. He slid the key in, swung the door open, and stepped aside to let Abby pass. Shutting the door behind him, bolting the lock, and turning around, Tim nearly ran into Abby’s back. Why she hadn’t continued on into the apartment was immediately apparent as Tim peered around her to find someone standing in the living room, face hidden in the shadows. Instinctively, Tim reached for his sidearm, only just remembering he was still in his tuxedo and his weapon was still locked in its safe.

“Looking for this?” the shadow spoke in familiar tones, and Tim gulped as he saw his weapon in the stranger’s hands.

“What do you want?” Tim asked as he quickly stepped around Abby to stand between her and the intruder.

“When were you going to tell me?” the other man asked, and Tim furrowed his eyebrows in confusion.

“Tell you what?” Tim demanded. He took a slow step backwards, trying to herd Abby back toward the apartment door. If he could only get her close enough, she’d have a chance to escape. Another step back and Tim promptly stepped on Abby’s toes. Clearly she wasn’t getting the hint.

The man in front of them took a small step forward, then another, until his face was finally illuminated by the front entrance light. Tim could not control the gasp that escaped his lips, and he felt Abby’s shaking hand grab the back of his shirt.

“Wha… Who?” Tim stuttered, unable to process what he was seeing, suddenly feeling lightheaded and weak in the knees.

Standing before them was… him. It was Tim. Only, it wasn’t Tim, because Tim was Tim. And this was… he didn’t understand as possible scenarios, each as unlikely as the next, flashed before him. A mask? Some sort of cloning experiment conducted by the CIA? A shapeshifter, or some sort of changeling?

A shapeshifter, Tim? Really? He was beginning to question his sanity. (Clearly watching movies once a week with Tony was having far too much of an effect on him…)

“Hello Tim,” the not-Tim said in Tim’s voice. “It’s nice to finally meet you.”

Tim had lost his voice and it was becoming more apparent that Abby’s hand was doing more to support him than her as he could no longer feel her trembling. Tim didn’t want to risk a glance at her, hoping beyond hope that he could keep not-Tim’s attention on himself rather than his wife.

“Who are you?” Tim asked.

“Isn’t it obvious?” the other man asked with a sneer that seemed out of place on that face. “I’m you.”

“That’s enough,” Abby called out, and she stepped up and alongside Tim, her hand sliding down from his back and into his hand. She gave it a tight squeeze and Tim finally looked down at her face and was surprised at what he saw there. Something he wouldn’t expect from his over-reactive wife during a situation that found the two of them standing in front of an armed man… one who liked identical to her husband.

She was completely calm.

“Abigail,” the man cooed, and his voice sent a shiver down Tim’s spine. “You don’t seem too surprised to see me.”

“I’m not,” she said quietly, and the other man nodded at her admission.

“How long have you known?”

“Awhile,” she responded.

“And you said nothing?”

Abby didn’t have an answer that time and she looked away. Tim watched the conversation in tense silence, still trying to convince himself that this wasn’t all some sort of trick or dream.

“Abby,” Tim whispered, unashamed of the fear that caused his voice to waver. “Abby, what’s going on?”

For a moment it looked as though Abby was going to ignore him too, but as he gave her hand a small squeeze, she buckled. The tears came as quickly as the words, and Tim found it hard to follow along to her account… both because of her sobs, and because of the complete, utter insanity of what she was telling him. He found himself shaking his head in silent denial, pulling further and further away from his wife as she spoke. She wouldn’t let go of his hand, however, gripping it so tightly as though her life depended on his touch.

“No,” Tim croaked, then cleared his throat nearly yelled the second denial. “No!”

Tim shook his head, refusing to believe the absurd tale he’d just been told. Long lost twins? Impossible. But the fact that this man was standing here, looking at him with his own face, seemed to corroborate what Abby had said… but how? How? Tim was about to ask when another traitorous thought took hold. Abby… Abby!

“Abby?” Tim snapped out of his reverie and turned toward his wife. “You knew?”

She flinched at his tone, but nodded silently.

“You knew and you didn’t tell me?” She nodded again, and Tim fumed. “Why? Why wouldn’t you tell me something like this? Why would you keep this from me?”

“Oh Tim,” she sobbed, finally letting go of his hand to cover her face with her hands. “I was just so confused!”

“Confused?” Tim roared. “Confused about what? I don’t understand, Abby! What is there to be confused about? You find out that I have a… a…” Tim fumbled for a moment, unwilling to put a name to what he knew now to be true. “You find out about him and you don’t tell me? Why?”

There was a look shared between Abby and not-Tim that was so brief that Tim almost missed it. But he saw it, and suddenly it all made sense. Horrible, treacherous, sickening sense and Tim had to swallow the bile that rose in his throat. Oh my God, he thought. No

“You’re in love with him,” Tim said, and it was not a question, but Abby answered him anyway.

“Yes,” she whispered. “But Tim, I love both of you!”

“How long have you known?” Tim asked, choosing to ignore her declaration of love.

“Ever since you were attacked by Jethro,” she answered quietly. “You… you have scars that he doesn’t.”

Tim reeled from this information, raking unsteady hands through his hair. How was this his life? Hours before, he was basking in the knowledge that his life was good. He had a job he had always strived for. He had a wife he adored. Friends. Health. And above all of that, a baby on the way. He was going to be a father… a father that was nothing like his own.

But now… now his life had been turned upside down and he had no idea how to right it again.

The sound of his own weapon being cocked was enough to pull him away from his dark thoughts. If this turned out badly, he wouldn’t have a life to correct at all.

“When were you going to tell me?” The gun never wavered as not-Tim glared at Abby. “If what you say is true, and you could tell the difference between Tim and me for a while now, you’ve deliberately kept your pregnancy from me. I want to know why.”

“Because,” Abby began shakily, her eyes darting between Tim and the intruder uncertainly. “Because I… I don’t know…”

She could have stopped right there... she should have. Tim closed his eyes, trying to will Abby to stop talking. To keep the crushing news from being spoken. But it was not meant to be. The day that had started off so badly for Gibbs and Director Shepard had now spiraled entirely out of control. He wasn’t sure he could stomach any further betrayals.

“I don’t know who the father is.”

This, apparently, was the wrong thing to say and not-Tim’s lips curled as he leapt toward Abby. Tim, unable to see his wife hurt even after her confession of adultery, jumped forward and collided hard with the other man. They tumbled downward, Tim’s head narrowly missing the coffee table, but bouncing off the hardwood floor with an audible thud. Tim could hear Abby’s screaming beyond the ringing in his ears.

Not-Tim managed to roll, slamming Tim backward against the table’s legs, sending books and various knick-knacks toppling down around them. Tim thrust himself upward, his head connecting solidly with not-Tim’s face, and the gun was dropped with a grunt of surprise. Tim pushed upward, and the weight that had been holding him down listed slightly and Tim fought hard to break free.

Stumbling to his feet, Tim braced himself on the still-standing coffee table. He felt a warm trickle making its way down the back of his neck, but paid it no mind as he searched the floor for the discarded weapon. Taking his eyes off of not-Tim was a mistake as the man, clearly recovered from the blow to his nose, slammed into Tim’s stomach and pushed him backward until his back slammed painfully into the wall. All the air rushed out of him and his arms flailed outward in an attempt to push his attacker away. Abby was still screaming, and Tim finally took a moment to glance up at his wife.

Abby stood in the middle of the living room, arms held out in front of her, precariously holding Tim’s service weapon in both hands. Tim immediately stilled and not-Tim, sensing the change in his stance, turned to look over his shoulder as well.

For a moment, all was silent. Abby was shaking, but with rage or coursing adrenaline, Tim couldn’t be sure. Her hair was as wild as her eyes, and Tim questioned whether or not she was entirely aware of what she was doing. Pushing away from Tim, the other man held his hands out to his side in what looked like an attempted peaceful gesture.

“Abby… baby…” he said, and Tim ground his teeth at the term of endearment. “C’mon, we can talk about this. You know I would never-”

Not-Tim didn’t get to finish his sentence as Abby pulled the trigger. He went down in a crumpled heap at Tim’s feet. Tim, breathing heavily, stepped forward slowly, raising his hand to take the gun away from Abby when the sound of a second discharge pulled him up short.

“Abby?” Tim gasped as he looked down at his chest and the red dot of blood slowly expanding down his rumpled white tuxedo shirt.

His legs gave out as he slid to the floor, Abby’s whispered “What have I done?” echoing in his ears as he lost consciousness.


To be continued.

X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X

**The AutoWed Wedding Machine does exist – housed in Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Detroit, Michigan. It was invented/showcased in 2011, but for the purposes of this story, it had been invented many years prior.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:19 am 
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Chapter Four

“I should have driven.”

“We don’t want to outrun the ambulances, Ziva, only follow them.”

There was a small noise of displeasure next to him, but that concluded the discussion. Disagreement. Argument? He wasn’t sure anymore. Many of their conversations of date had been more than a little tense. More than once he felt like they’d been starring in their own personal version of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” But Tony didn’t want to start another argument now, not when a friend’s life was in the balance and another’s was quickly unraveling.

After receiving a frantic call from Abby, Tony and Ziva had rushed over to the McGee residence to find a scene Tony was still unable to wrap his head around. Getting the full story out of Abby had been out of the question. She had been inconsolable, and a bit crazed, in Tony’s opinion.

Now they were following behind two ambulances, one that held a dying Tim McGee and his wife, another that carried Tim’s evil twin. (A title given to the Tim-look-alike by Tony himself, though he only had Abby’s hysterical ramblings to go on). Honestly, though… who had evil twins these days? He didn’t envy McGee and that conversation with his parents. He shook his head… he’d take his fraying relationship with Ziva any day over what his friend was about to go through.

Assuming he pulled through. A gunshot wound to the chest was nothing to sneeze at.

A ping from his cell phone pulled him out of his thoughts and Tony took his eyes off the road to read the text.

Wished we could have shared a dance at the reception.

Tony risked a glance over to Ziva, but she was staring out the passenger window and paying him little attention. Still, he didn’t think responding while driving would be a wise move, so he ignored the text for now. He’d have time to talk to her later.

Where are you?

Apparently Paula had other ideas. Sighing, he silenced his phone and focused again on the road after another quick glance at Ziva. She seemed lost in her own thoughts, and Tony’s gut twisted at the look of sadness on her face. Of course she was upset. McGee was hurt. Tony was upset too, but he had optimism that his probie would pull through so he tried not to dwell on it. But Ziva… Ziva’s look was different.

It was the look of someone afraid of losing the one they love.

Suddenly Tony’s worry over McGee turned into anger. How dare his friend be the subject of his girlfriend’s admiration! Though Tony has never seen him do anything outward to ask for such attention from Ziva, he’s sure that Tim hasn’t turned her away. No, the more he thought about it, the more he fumed. Tim was probably enjoying the added attention!

Pulling up to a traffic light, Tony closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose when his cell phone vibrated in his lap. This time it did not go unnoticed by Ziva, who audibly sighed and turned away from the window to glare at him.

“Just go ahead and answer her, Tony.”

Tony opened his eyes and dropped his hand. “Answer who?” he asked innocently.

“Oh please,” she snared. “Paula. Do not deny that it is her who is texting you right now. She cannot go a day without texting you or calling you or stopping by your desk for one flimsy reason or another. She has had feelings for you ever since Guantanamo Bay. Do not continue to treat me as an out-of-touch housewife, Tony. You are fully aware of her intentions. And perhaps return her affections yourself, yes?”

“What?” Tony shouted as the light turned green and he slammed on the accelerator a little too heavily. “I… do not love Paula,” he denied, though it sounded weak to his own ears.

Ziva rolled her eyes. “Tony, your relationship with Paula is the worst kept secret outside of Gibbs’ affair with Hollis Mann.”

Tony started to deny her claims when his phone buzzed again, vibrating off his leg and onto the floorboard. Clenching his jaw, Tony turned his gaze to the flashing lights of the ambulance he trailed behind, not knowing if it carried McGee or his doppelganger.

“That’s rich, coming from you,” he said finally. “Considering you are in love with McGee.”

Ziva’s eyes bulged wide. “Excuse me?”

“You heard me,” Tony replied coldly. “Let’s talk about you and McGee and the fact that I’m not the only person harboring feelings for someone who currently is not in this car.”

Tony could feel Ziva’s glare for so long that he started getting uncomfortable. They were finally pulling into the hospital parking lot when Ziva finally spoke up, but it wasn’t in the anger or denial that Tony was expecting.

“You are such an idiot, Tony,” Ziva said with exasperation.

“What?” Tony asked as he parked and they climbed out, walking until they faced each other near the hood of the car.

“I do not love McGee!” Ziva bellowed. “That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!”

“But… but…” Tony stuttered, and all of Paula’s words came flooding back to him…

“Ziva is in love with McGee.”

“You see the way she looks at him, don’t you?”

“She’s always taking his side, isn’t she?”

“Gibbs has been partnering them up a lot lately. Isn’t it obvious why? It’s because Ziva’s asked him to.”

“Ziva is in love with McGee.”

“Did you hear how she gushed about McGee yesterday?”

“You know, Ziva confided in me her true feelings toward McGee.”

“Ziva is in love with McGee.”


“It was her, wasn’t it?” Ziva’s question cut into Paula’s string of words, and he gaped at her. “Paula. She told you I was in love with McGee.”

It wasn’t a question, and Tony could only nod. Of course it was Paula. He hadn’t realized anything was amiss until she had pointed it out. After that, it hadn’t mattered who had made him see the obvious. Once Paula had spoken the truth, Tony saw what she had seen. Was forced to live it every day. Hear it in every conversation. See it in every glance they shared.

Ziva was in love with McGee!

“It doesn’t matter who told me,” Tony said cheekily, folding his arms across his chest. “Doesn’t make it any less true. You want to talk about worst-kept secrets? You love McGee. It’s as obvious as Jimmy’s feelings for Ducky.”

“You are an idiot, Tony,” Ziva repeated. “A blind idiot. Of course I do not love McGee! Paula is trying to break us up, how can you not see that?”

But Tony did not see. Paula wasn’t trying to break them up! She was being a good friend, pointing out something he should have been aware of all along. Tony stayed defiantly quiet and Ziva’s shoulders drooped slightly before she stormed into the hospital, Tony following behind at a distance.

After checking in at the nurse’s station, they were directed toward a small waiting area on the third floor. Tony couldn’t stand the frosty silence, so he began wandering the hallways of the hospital, deliberately not thinking about Ziva, Paula or McGee. He offhandedly wondered where Abby was at that moment, but didn’t get far in figuring things out before he heard someone call out his name in surprise.

“DiNozzo?”

“Boss?” Tony turned around to see Gibbs poking his head out of one of the small hospital rooms. Tony closed the distance between them quickly, glancing into the window briefly, only to find the privacy screen had been pulled around a singular bed. “What are you doing here?”

“It’s… a long story,” Gibbs stated, looking over his shoulder briefly before stepping out into the hallway. “Why are you here?”

“Oh man, boss… I’m not sure you’d believe me if I told you,” Tony said with a laugh. His smile dropped when he saw the look on Gibbs’ face, so he quickly explained everything as best he could. The phone call from Abby. The scene at the McGee’s apartment. The bizarre story of two Tim McGee’s, and Abby’s apparent melt down. Surprisingly, Gibbs seemed to take it all in stride, not asking many questions, and not appearing too shocked at the fact that Tim had a double.

“It’s not the strangest thing that’s happened to me today,” Gibbs admitted. Tony didn’t know what to say as Gibbs lead him into the small room where a red head lay sleeping.

“Is that…?”

“Yes,” Gibbs nodded, and Tony saw a small smile on his boss’ face.

“How?”

“I have no idea.”


X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X


The reception was much too quiet of an affair, considering what it should have represented – the happy union between two people in love. But the white tent, illuminated by giant lanterns glowing in the evening air, erected in in the center of a beautiful botanical garden, was occupied only by half of the wedding’s guests. Many unsure if they should even be there, several others enjoying the appetizers and booze that had been pre-ordered for the event.

Ducky did not feel bad for taking advantage of Jethro’s hospitality. It had provided the perfect place for he and Mr. Palmer to unwind after the long, and at times awkward, conversation they had been forced to have a few hours earlier.

“So you’re… you’re my…”

“Father,” Ducky supplied gently. “I’m afraid so, my lad. It wasn’t until very recently that I started to have inklings that… well, that you were my son. A blood test just confirmed it just earlier today.”


Jimmy had taken the news with shock, a bit of anger, and a great deal of sadness. Ducky could see the emotions swirling behind those spectacles as Jimmy couldn’t keep the tears from falling. Ducky did his best to offer comfort until Jimmy insisted that he needed time alone to call his mother.

The band, deciding that there were enough people to warrant playing a set, struck up a melancholy song and couples trickled to the dance floor. Ducky carried two drinks to the far corner of the tent where Jimmy sat alone, picking at a loose thread in the tablecloth.

“I thought your conversation with your mother might take a bit longer,” Ducky admitted as he lowered himself into a seat, setting the drinks down on the table with a soft thump. “How did it go?”

Jimmy offered a one-shouldered shrug in response.

“I see,” Ducky said softly, pained to see Jimmy in such a sad way, knowing it was he who caused it.

They sat in silence for a long time, something that Ducky was not used to when being in the presence of the younger man. When working, Ducky more often than not had a story to share, filling their time together with tall tales and laughter. During their social interactions together, they rarely had to fill any kind of uncomfortable silence, Jimmy just as often as he deciding to share more and more about himself, opening up about his past and dreams for his future.

It was during one of those times that Ducky had first learned something about Jimmy’s mother that had sent the liver probe he’d been holding clattering to the floor. He’d brushed it off at first as coincidence, but after a few innocent questions, there was no denying that the woman Jimmy called mother was the same woman Ducky had called lover many years ago.

For a long while, Ducky denied his instincts, not wanting to damage the friendship they held. However, he no longer could ignore them once Mr. Palmer’s feelings for him became more apparent. Not wanting things to get irreparably far, it was then that Ducky had approached Abigail with a fabricated story of a niece and a long lost father. She had her own suspicions at first, but had been easily placated.

Ducky’s suspicions had now been confirmed, and a friendship had been irrevocably altered. He only hoped the young man could move past whatever anger he was experiencing and the two of them could venture into a new relationship… one of father and son.

“I am sorry, Mr. Pal… Jimmy,” Ducky began, but found himself uncharacteristically without words. “I did not wish to cause you pain.”

“No, Dr. Mallard. You… you had to tell me. If you hadn’t…” A blush crept up Jimmy’s face, and Ducky understood now that Jimmy wasn’t angry… he was embarrassed. “I guess I just don’t know what to do now. What do we do now?” he pleaded, looking at Ducky with such a lost expression, and he fought the urge to pull him into a tight embrace. Such a gesture may be unwelcome at this emotional time.

“Why don’t we share a drink?” Ducky asked a bit too enthusiastically, grabbing both glasses and passing one to his companion, who stared at it for a moment. Finally, Jimmy glanced up at Ducky, a small smile brightening up his face.

“How about a toast,” Jimmy began softly. At Ducky’s encouraging nod, Jimmy sat up a little straighter and lifted his glass. “To new beginnings?”

Ducky beamed. “To new beginnings. And to family.”


X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X


Jenny wasn’t entirely sure what she expected to find when she finally tracked down Gibbs. But walking in on him looking at an old family photo album with his dead wife hadn’t once crossed her mind as a possibility. For a moment she stood there, transfixed by the smile on his face… one that she’d never seen him reveal for her.

She wasn’t naïve. She knew that their marriage was one of opportunity, not some idealistic notion such as love. Not really, anyway. They respected one another, and even trusted the other to a certain extent. They were more than capable of passion and romance…

…but Jenny knew she’d never be able to replace the woman she now saw in front of her.

“Jethro, we have a visitor.”

Gibbs looked up at Shannon’s words and saw Jenny standing there. She realized, suddenly, how ridiculous she must look. She was still wearing her wedding gown, while Gibbs had changed out of his tux and slipped on something a bit more comfortable. Her hair was probably falling out of its fashionable style, all due to her hasty retreat from the church, her abrupt and unwelcome encounter with La Grenouille, and also because she’d had to pull her car over no less than four times to vomit at the unwelcome news he had brought.

“You’re lying,” Jenny repeated vehemently. “Jasper Shepard was-”

“A very dear friend,” Benoit interrupted. “Along with your mother, of course.”

“No,” Jenny refused to hear this nonsense.

“You may deny it all you wish, but it does not make it any less true. I am your father, Jennifer. Your mother knew, of course, and when your father found out…”

Jenny screamed at him to get out, lunging toward her glove compartment and unlocking it, only to find her weapon missing. But it didn’t matter… La Grenoille was already exiting her vehicle, shutting it quietly behind him. Not daring to look back, she started the ignition and tore out of the lot.


“Jenny,” Gibbs whispered, pulling her back to the present, and for a moment, Jenny pitied the man. He looked confusedly at her, then to Shannon, and back to her, caught somewhere between sitting and standing. She smiled at him, cutting him off before she was sure to be some sort of apology.

Though with Gibbs, you could never expect an apology… not an outright one, anyway.

“You don’t need to explain, Jethro,” she stated a bit more coldly than she had wished. She wanted to give him sympathy for his obvious plight, yet the anger she had felt at being humiliated at the altar, combined with the sickening information shoved at her only a few hours earlier, had drained the last drop of empathy she held. “May I speak to you privately?”

She didn’t wait for an answer. She simply nodded at Shannon in what she hoped was a friendly gesture before picking her dress up over her ankles and heading back out into the hallway. She thought she might have seen Tony ducking around the corner, but shook her head at the thought and waited until her fiancé showed his face.

“Jenny,” he said quietly, shutting the door behind him as he joined her in the hall. He held his hands out in an image of surrender, but Jenny would have none of it. If Gibbs showed her any weakness at all right now, she would pounce on it. And that was not something she wanted to do. She had come here searching for answers, but found that he could offer her nothing more than what she’d already seen. Fornell had clearly found his wife, and Gibbs dropped everything (including her) and pursued him. She couldn’t blame him… not really. She could be angry, though, and if Gibbs thought he was going to get away scot-free, well…

…she would show him how well Director Jenny Shepard could hold a grudge.

“I don’t need an explanation. It’s blatantly obvious why you left me standing in front of a crowd of our friends and family,” she paused a moment, taking a few deep breaths before continuing. “Kelly?”

“Still missing,” Gibbs reported a bit cautiously. Jenny could see that her relative calm was making him nervous, and she nearly smiled. Her day had been hellish, and if she could take comfort from Gibbs’ discomfort, then she’d take it where she could get it.

“I see,” Jenny said. She wished no harm to his daughter, but again she found she had nothing in her reserves to offer him in terms of emotional support. “Well, it seems Jethro that you’ve been given a second chance. I wish you the best of luck.”

Jenny was turned halfway around before Gibbs grabbed her arm and spun her so they were face to face.

“That’s it?” he demanded, searching her face for any signs of deception. He would find none.

“What would you have me do?” Jenny asked coldly, pulling her arm away from his grasp. “Give you an ultimatum? Me or her? I’m not an idiot, Jethro. I know I would lose.” She’d already lost so much today… her past, her sense of security knowing who she was, and where she came from… why not lose her future too?

"No!” a voice from within yelled. “La Grenouille may have taken away your past,” it reminded her, “but you have the power to change the future. Your future… and his future.”

The future she had so carefully planned with Gibbs was gone. There was nothing she could do to get that back. Their union would have held many promising advantages to her, both personally and professionally, but she realized now that only one thing would bring her satisfaction.

The downfall of Rene Benoit.

She realized Gibbs had just asked her a question, but she brushed him off, wishing him and Shannon the best of luck in finding Kelly, and offered him a kiss goodbye.

“Where are you going?” Gibbs demanded.

“To find my father,” she said simply and turned to walk away.

“Your father’s dead,” Gibbs shouted after her, and she pulled up short. Turning around to look at Gibbs over her shoulder, she offered him a grisly smile.

“You’re right,” she said coldly, turning once again and strolling confidently away from him. “He is.”


To be continued.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:27 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:17 am
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Location: Michigan
Name: Kelly
Gender: Female
Chapter Five

Tony checked the time. 6:30 a.m. The whole night had passed in a blur of doctors, medical jargon, and bad hospital coffee. And that had happened after arranging a psychiatrist for Abby and dealing with a grumpy Metro detective who clearly didn’t buy the whole ‘evil twin’ theory. More than once he’d wished for help from Gibbs, but Tony just couldn’t bring himself to go to his boss.

Gibbs had been so happy sitting next to his wife, the both of them explaining what little they knew of their current situation. While Tony was still trying to wrap his mind around it all, Gibbs seemed to have brushed the craziness of it all away, as if the ‘how’ didn’t matter. And maybe right now, at this moment, it didn’t truly matter. There would be time later for questions and investigations. He’d let Gibbs have his time now, before reality inevitably showed back up.

Tony shook his head, letting it drop into his hands.

“This is all just so… crazy,” he mumbled into his palms.

“Tell me about it.”

Tony jumped up at the unknown voice. Sitting next to him was a man, slightly older than himself, looking comfortable in his suit and sunglasses. The stranger practically screamed ‘CIA,’ and Tony slumped. Of course… it was only a matter of time before they showed up. This business with a woman coming back from the dead was bound to throw up some red flags. Tony glanced up, and sure enough there was a woman standing just within earshot, arms crossed and looking rather stern. She was slim and beautiful, but Tony had no doubt that she was also very deadly.

“And who are you?” Tony asked as he looked back at the man next to him.

“My name’s Phil. I’m a... friend,” the man said with a smile, removing his sunglasses and tucking them within his suit jacket.

“Uh huh, sure,” Tony nodded. “What do you want?”

“Nothing.”

Tony raised an eyebrow. “Nothing?”

“Nope. Nothing. I just came by to talk to Agent Gibbs and his wife, now that she’s awake. Offer my services. You see, I know a thing or two about coming back from the dead.”

Tony couldn’t help the laugh that burst out of him. The man next to him was so unlike any other CIA agent he’d ever met in the past.

“You know a thing… that’s funny,” Tony chuckled, wiping at his eyes. “Look, you want to offer your services? Find his daughter.”

Tony said it flippantly, not actually expecting the agent… Phil, he corrected mentally… to do much about it. His experience with the CIA in the past had shown them they had very little interest in actually helping anyone. He just wanted the two agents to leave him, along with Gibbs and Shannon, alone.

“I’m not CIA,” Phil corrected, standing up and putting his sunglasses back on.

“Okay…” Tony drawled out, not really sure what to make of Phil. He took his eyes off the man for only a moment when a manila folder landed in his lap. On top was a photo of Tim, only the name imprinted on the picture said “McGee, Tiberius.”

“What?” Tony began, but Phil interrupted.

“Tell Gibbs I’ll be in touch.”

“Tony!”

He stood up and turned around to find Paula jogging toward him. Before he knew it, she was launching himself into his arms, her own arms wrapping around his neck in a fierce hug.

“Paula,” he said as he pulled her arms down and putting some distance between them. He looked around quickly for Phil and his mysterious partner, but the agent was already gone. Shaking his head, he turned back to Paula. “What are you doing here?”

Paula crossed her arms and suddenly looked rather annoyed. “What do you mean? I heard about what happened with Tim and Abby. I wanted to see how they were doing… and see how you were holding up. I was worried about you. Why weren’t you responding to any of my texts?”

Tony pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed, feeling every bit of his exhaustion. “I’ve been a bit busy, Paula.”

“Still, you should have called me,” she said, and Tony could see the accusation in her eyes.

“It’s complicated,” he offered and her eyes narrowed.

“Where’s Ziva?”

Tony shrugged, letting himself fall back into his seat. “I don’t know,” he confessed.

He and Ziva had only shared a few tense words since arriving late last night, but Tony knew he should go seek her out. He felt like a fool. Sometime during the night, he realized now that what Ziva had said was true. His source of jealousy and suspicion had all come from the woman now seated beside him, her head leaning against his shoulder. Over the past several months, Paula had been poisoning his mind with thoughts that Ziva was unfaithful. With McGee of all people.

Ziva was right. He was an idiot.

Even though he was exhausted from the day’s events, he knew he was thinking more clearly than ever. He hated admitting he was wrong, but in this case he knew he had to make an exception. He loved Ziva. He needed to find her and fix this. Right now.

He stood quickly, and he heard Paula gasp in surprise as her head lost its pillow.

“Tony? What are you-”

“Leave.”

Paula stood next to him, a look of confusion clouding her face. “What?”

“Leave,” Tony repeated. “Now.”

“Tony,” Paula continued, anger now leaking into her voice as she put a hand on his arm. “Stop it. I’m staying. I want to help.”

Tony yanked his arm away as if he’d been burned by her touch. “I think you’ve helped enough, Paula. I’m going to find Ziva. Go home.”

“You’re such an idiot, Tony!” she yelled after him as he walked away, unknowingly echoing Ziva’s own words. “She doesn’t love you! And when you figure that out, you’ll come crawling back to me!”

Tony’s retreating figure turned a corner and was gone from sight.


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“I don’t understand.”

“I know.”

“I just… don’t understand.”

“I am sorry, McGee.”

Tim didn’t say anything for a long while, and Ziva settled in for the wait. Tim had been slowly shaking off the effects of anesthesia for the past few hours, and though this was the most coherent she had seen him, he was clearly still confused.

“Why?”

Ziva was about to brush off his question, the same way she’d brushed it off the dozen other times he’d previously asked, but the pain lacing his voice made her pause. When she looked at him more closely, his eyes were clearer, and he was fixing her with a penetrating stare that had her transfixed. Without even realizing what she was doing, she pulled the chair she sat in closer to the bed and took one of his hands in both of hers.

“Tim,” she said softly. “I am so very sorry. I know that this must be difficult for you. I do not know why this has happened. But we will do what we always do, yes? Get through it together.”

Tim clung to her hands, his eyes unblinking, barely breathing. Clearly he wanted more from her, but Ziva did not know what she could possibly give. He was recovering from major surgery, and that was after finding out that not only was his wife cheating on him, but that he may not even be the father of his own child. Ziva knew that Tony was coordinating with Metro to try to identify Abby’s lover (Tim’s brother? she wondered), but so far they’d come up with nothing. The other man was in a coma, so he would be offering no information for the time being. Any attempt to reach Tim’s family had been unsuccessful, but she knew that they would be tracked down eventually. This was something they could not hide behind forever.

Eventually the truth would make itself known. It always did.

“Where’s Abby?”

Ziva reached forward and brushed some hair off Tim’s forehead, stalling for time. She was unsure of how much to tell him now… unsure of how much he could handle.

“She is resting,” Ziva stated, deciding to go with the vague truth. She was indeed resting, but under heavily sedation. Tony worked with the hospital staff to find a psychiatrist at the late hour, and Ziva sincerely hoped that Abby could be helped.

Ziva felt a pang of guilt over the amount of work Tony had to have coordinated on his own. But she had been so angry, and she wanted very little to do with him right now. Maybe later, when things have cooled down a bit, they could attempt to have a civilized conversation. She needed her relationship with Tony to work, after all.

He was the only thing that helped keep her mind off the hurting man in front of her. She would not be happy until she had McGee to herself, but she could be content with a life alongside Tony until that happened. Ziva knew she had the talent to turn Tony around. And once he was back on her side, she’d be able to take care of Paula.

Paula was such an amateur, Ziva thought as she smiled to herself. She had no idea how to properly manipulate people to get a desired outcome. Pointing out Ziva’s feelings for McGee had been sloppy. Yes, it had caused a brief disturbance in her relationship with Tony, but her own careful behavior would negate any claim the other woman made. Their argument in the parking lot was proof enough that Tony was already beginning to have doubts regarding Paula’s claims. Discrediting her would be all too easy.

Once Paula was out of the way, Ziva thought, things would go back to normal.

Ziva’s smile grew as Tim relaxed under her touch, his eyes drifting closed as her fingers stroked his forehead.

“How could she do that to me?” Tim asked.

“I do not know,” she replied softly, unsure of which of Abby’s transgressions he was referring to. And there were several to choose from.

“I love her.”

Ziva quickly quashed the flare of jealousy she felt burning within. How Tim could still profess his love at a time like this baffled her. However, he was not thinking clearly. She figured the drugs in his system would prevent him from feeling the righteous anger he should be expressing. He’d get there eventually, with her help.

“And she loves you,” Ziva said sweetly with a roll of her eyes. “You should rest, McGee. I will stay here with you.”

It didn’t take long before Tim fell asleep, but Ziva did not stop her ministrations. She couldn’t help but be drawn toward his innocence. He looked so young and carefree while sleeping, and she took advantage of every opportunity to see him in this state.

There were troubled times ahead for Tim McGee, that much was certain. Ziva knew she’d have to be careful, now more than ever, in her balancing act. Yet she held no doubts that she would have all that she wanted, and more, before the year was done.

It was already in motion. She just had to keep it on the right track.


X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X


“Is everything alright Jethro?”

“Hmmm?” Gibbs hummed distractedly.

“It’s just that you were checking your phone. Again. I think that’s the seventh time in a half hour.” Gibbs looked up at Shannon, who was offering him a small smile. “You told me not to worry. That your friend would bring Kelly back to me. To us. Are you starting to doubt that?”

Gibbs smiled and made a show of putting his phone down. He leaned forward and planted a kiss on Shannon’s forehead before sitting back down.

“You’re right. I just thought he’d have checked in by now.”

Shannon leaned into his touch, and Gibbs’ smile grew. It had just been over 24 hours since Fornell had interrupted his wedding and he had learned that his wife was alive. It had been a bumpy start, but Shannon had been making strides these past hours in regaining her memories. The photo album had helped as well. Together they had laughed and cried over pictures of their wedding, of Kelly’s birth, old friends and family vacations. And though memories of their past together seemed to be returning nicely, it was memories of what had happened and where she’d been all these years that remained elusive.

Gibbs knew that it should bother him more than it was, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. Shannon was here, Kelly was out there somewhere, and soon they would be a family again. Eventually he’d be forced to find out what had happened – he knew he wouldn’t be able to go long without investigating it – but for now he wanted to just sit with his wife and wait for Kelly’s return.

It was the wait that was killing him. Where was she? Shannon remembered only bits and pieces of the most recent past, but she clung to one fact dearly… Kelly had been with her. And Gibbs was worried. Was Kelly sitting in another hospital, alone and without her memories, waiting for someone to come and find her?

Or was Shannon’s memory faulty? Was Kelly even alive?

The doubts grew even as he tried his best to maintain an outward appearance of calm for Shannon’s sake. He hadn’t lied to her earlier when he’d said that Fornell would handle things. He trusted him to not stop until Kelly’s fate was discovered. But maybe he should have gone out looking himself. Or at the very least assigned Tony to the case.

At this point, he was a little worried to get any government agencies involved. According to Tony, Shannon’s strange reappearance had apparently gotten the attention of at least one of the groups. No, he needed to wait until he could dig around on his own before bringing others on board. For now, his focus needed to be on Shannon and keeping her safe.

He wasn’t going to lose her again.

“You’re so tense,” Shannon pointed out with some amusement. “What’s wrong?”

Gibbs squeezed her hand reassuringly. “It’s nothing.”

“You’re thinking too much,” Shannon continued. “I think this is all a bit… much. I wish I had all the answers for you. I wish that none of this had ever happened…”

“Hey, hey…” Gibbs soothed. “It’s not your fault. None of this is your fault. We’ll figure it out, okay?”

“Okay,” Shannon nodded. “Tell me some more stories. How’s your dad? Does he still have the store?”

Hours passed, but Gibbs didn’t tire of talking with Shannon. She’d asked him questions about his life since her disappearance. He glossed over his other marriages, but Shannon seemed neither troubled nor shocked by these other women. He calmed her worries about interrupting his wedding to Jenny, stating that his fiancé stopped by and only wished them the best.

Gibbs didn’t mention his own worry over Jenny. She had seemed a little too calm when she’d tracked him down last night. He’d expected fury and embarrassment, but instead she seemed distracted, not to mention a bit confused. Mentioning her dad like that… it was a bit odd. He’d just have to add her weird behavior to another thing he’d be investigating in the near future.

It was late when his voice gave out and Shannon fell asleep. Gibbs spent some time just watching her before his own eyes slipped closed, his head resting on the side of Shannon’s bed.

Sometime later, after the nurses had quietly checked their patient’s vitals and turned down the lighting, two figures slipped into the room, unnoticed. Neither moved for a moment, but soon their quiet whispering woke Gibbs. It took a moment for him to fully wake, but he quickly stood and moved to the end of the bed to stand between Shannon and the two shadows.

“Who are you? What do you want?” he demanded.

A light turned on behind him and he spun to see Shannon sitting up in bed, rubbing sleep from her eyes before staring, wide eyed, behind him. When he turned back around, Gibbs nearly dropped to his knees.

Fornell stood tall, offering Gibbs a satisfied smirk. Behind him, a young woman with Shannon’s hair and his eyes stepped forward. Gibbs’ heart was pounding so loud he was sure everyone else could hear it too. He swallowed the lump in his throat as Kelly took one step toward him, and then another, before she ran the final few steps into his open arms.

“Daddy,” she sobbed.

“Kelly,” he whispered, and Gibbs held his daughter as tears streaked down his own cheeks.

Behind him, he could hear Shannon shifting in her bed and soon after felt his wife’s arms wrapping around both of them. Fornell slipped out the door, unnoticed by the family as they clung to one another, outwardly pleased to see them reunited at last.


The End.

X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X

That's it! Valerie - I sincerely hope you enjoyed this story! I had a blast writing it. :)

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