Jillian sat alone in her room – she had positioned herself in the middle of the bed with her legs crossed and her arms wrapped tightly around a pillow. Since she was a child, this was her ‘thinking’ position; and right now she had a lot to think about. The case and her attack were at the forefront – they played in her head like a movie. The problem was that the ending had not been written yet. Every moment sitting in this room, in this house, was time lost in writing her ending. However, getting out of this house and having a target on her back was not an ending she wanted to see either.
Jill was snapped back into reality by the sharp knocks on the bedroom door. She began to slowly move off of the bed and towards the door when she heard his voice.
“Jillian, can I please come in? I would really like to talk to you. “Gibbs’ voice was soft, quite unlike his normal gruffness. As she opened the door, she noticed in addition to the change in his voice, his demeanor had changed as well.
She held the door opened, “come on in.” She moved to the side and let Gibbs walk by and motioned for him to have a seat in the oversized chair situated by the window. She elected to leave the door open – figuring DiNozzo and McGee would run in and defuse the situation, should it get heated.
Gibbs was nervous, he didn’t know how to start but he figured he should just plow through it. “Jillian, I need you to know that I am impressed with your investigative skills – you seem to have a natural gift for this type of work.”
Jillian couldn’t hold her tongue and interjected, “I feel like there is a ‘but’ with that statement.” She folded her arms across her chest and took a defensive stance.
“Well, yes, there is. Whether you want to admit it or not, you need a bit of help to wrap this case up. You hit a nerve Jillian and they are willing to kill you in order to stop the investigation.” Gibbs took a moment to let that sink in. “If you are dead, they win. Work with us to get this done, put them away and stop this investigation but admit you need help.”
Jillian let his words sink in, she knew he was right but she also didn’t want to cave in so easily. She began pacing back and forth, she kept her arms crossed and kept her eyes focused. Gibbs wondered if she did this when she was in court; if so, he could tell she was a force to be reckoned with.
Gibbs stood and walked towards her, “Jillian, we saw the files on your computer – we know the dots you were connecting. We brought in one of the previous drug defendants to question him.”
She stopped and turned to face Gibbs, “which defendant?”
“That was Admiral Hurst’s case – attacked an MP and court officer and was discharged from the Navy but the drug case was simply wiped away.”
Gibbs was very impressed; she had obviously memorized the files. “Yes, that’s him. He has admitted to harassing and stalking you. He said the plan was for things to escalate but he drew the line at physical violence. He claims to have not known about your attack or who did it. I was trying to get him to talk, almost had him there.”
“Wait, you had him close to talking? Why in the world did you stop interrogating him? You should have pressed harder.” Her voice began to get loud and she could feel it echo in the room. She knew he would not have a good reaction to her protests.
“It wasn’t my choice to stop the interrogation. I was yanked from the room by Director Vance.”
“Why were you pulled from the room? What happened?”
“Dalton said he would be killed if he talked, I told him I’d kill him if he didn’t. Vance yanked me and said I stepped over the line because I am too personally involved.”
“Do you think you stepped over the line? Are you too personally attached to this case?” Jillian asked, staring at Gibbs not sure if she really wanted him to answer.
“Well Jill, think about it. It isn’t every day that I get a case where someone has attacked my daughter and would like nothing more than to silence her permanently.” There he had admitted it, out loud, all the times he has tried to forget that she existed and now he was facing it head it.
“Yeah, I am can imagine your reaction was the same as mine when I found out that you were investigating it.”
“No, Jillian I don’t think it was the same.” Gibbs was standing directly in front of her and his voice was steadily getting louder. He needed her to understand; maybe it would help to just say it. “Look, I admit that when I found out about you, I didn’t handle it well. I never made an effort to take it back and to make things right. So, when I get a call that someone at the JAG office has been attacked – my first thought was ‘Don’t let it be her.’ Then I find that it was you and then I had a flood of relief to know that I was not going to investigate your death.” Gibbs turned away, his emotions were starting to take over and he didn’t show his emotions to many people. Stoic, strong and intimidating – those were the words to describe Jethro Gibbs…not emotional.
“I have not been a father to you and I know that. I don’t know how to be one – but I certainly want you to be safe.” Gibbs took a deep breath and said the thing that he feared the most, “And I most certainly do not want to bury another child.”
Jillian could feel the tears beginning to well in her eyes. She had not allowed herself to think about what this case meant for him. She had only been thinking of herself and how much she had to prove to him. She desperately wanted his approval and she had always hated herself for thinking she needed that.
When the door opened to the house and Gibbs walked in, DiNozzo and McGee were surprised. They didn’t expect him to come by and he didn’t give them any warning that something happened.
“Hey Boss…what is going on?” DiNozzo asked as he walked from the kitchen into the living area.
Gibbs did not speak and he walked with purpose back to Jillian’s room. McGee walked from the kitchen and stood next to Tony.
“Well he has something on his mind.” McGee offered.
“Yeah and I can’t help but think that it might get explosive.” DiNozzo responded in kind. Both Special Agents just stood in silence and waited to see what came next.
They had anticipated that voices would be raised and when the yelling started, the two inched close to the door. What they had not anticipated was hearing Gibbs say that Jillian was his daughter. The two of them stood frozen and captivated by the conversation that followed. So much so that they failed to realize the conversation had stopped and that Gibbs was now standing right in front of them.
“Are you two just going to stand there?”
“Boss, no sir…I mean we were coming to see if everything was alright.” McGee stuttered.
“Get Admiral Hurst and Lieutenant Commander Reagan into the office – tell them we have a break and need to discuss it with them. Put them in the conference room, I don’t want them to feel like they are being interrogated.”
“Boss, why are we going to get them if we don’t really have a break?” McGee asked; he was a little confused.
“Because McGee, we are going to interrogate them – now go!” Gibbs barked.