DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SERIES: Prequel to Into the Setting Sun.

An Outstretched Hand
By Jaina


Jenny stepped off of the plane and onto the tarmac. She unfurled a small black umbrella to ward off the light drizzle of rain. She'd come prepared.

There was a car, idling fifty yards away waiting to take her wherever she wanted to go. She allowed herself a moment to get acclimated to her new surroundings before she approached the dark, black SUV.

Climbing inside, she paused when the driver turned around and greeted her.

"Director Sheppard."

She was still getting used to hearing that.

"I'd like to go straight to the meeting place."

"Of course, Ma'am," The young, clean cut man up front replied. He turned back to focus on driving and she let the conversation die.

It had been less than a month since her promotion to the position of Director of NCIS. This was her first trip out of the country since then. She wondered once again at the wisdom of this trip. NCIS wasn't the most politically ambitious of organizations, but most new Directors usually waited a little bit longer for their first out-of-country trip, until they'd had more time to settle into the position. Still it had been her decision and hers alone.

This trip felt worth it though, and it certainly would be if she got what she wanted. Jenny remembered a conversation that she'd had with Gibbs a few days ago in the forensics lab. Abby had been cheerfully telling him the details of a case when she'd finally caught up with him down there. She was aware that he'd been avoiding her and it was easy enough to catch him there.

It wasn't the first time, even in her short time as Director, that she'd wondered about the nature of their relationship, and she supposed it wouldn't be the last.

Still she'd been surprised when she'd told Gibbs about her trip and his sole comment was to tell her to trust her gut, if she really felt she needed to leave. Then again, he could have just been trying to get her out of the country and off of his back. She wouldn't put it past Gibbs.

She felt the car begin to slow and looked up. They had already reached the small cafe where it had been agreed the meeting would take place.

The driver stopped the SUV and started to get out to get her door. Jenny stopped him with a wave her hand and got out herself. "You can go," she said. "I'll have alternate transportation back."

"Ma'am," The agent instantly protested. "That's against policy. We're not to leave you."

"I say what's policy," Jenny cut through his protest, "And I say go." She didn't wait to listen to more of his complaints, but walked away. She stepped inside the cafe, and carefully folded her umbrella away. Looking around she made her way towards the back, finally spotting the person that she was meeting in a corner table just off of the kitchens.

The table would, Jenny noted, have an excellent view of both entrance and exit.

She sat down, swung her bag off of her shoulder, and said, "Hello, Ziva."

"Shalom," the young Israeli woman greeted her.

Jenny smiled. "It's good to see you again."

"You're not going to tell me I look well, are you," Ziva asked tiredly.

Jenny shook her head. "I'm not that good of a liar."

Ziva tipped her head. "You lie well enough. When it suits you." She glanced away towards the entrance. "Why did you wish to see me, Jenny? You could have blow my cover, and besides I think you have more things to do now than just chat and catch up with me, yes?"

"I came to see how you're holding up." She paused. "Among other things."

"I am-" Ziva hesitated, searching for a word. "I am unhappy, Jenny. Did you expect anything else? My father is angry about everything that happened and I am in the middle of another mission that is going very badly. That makes me more unhappy."

Jenny reached out, and then stopped in mid-gesture, letting her hand drop down to rest on the table. "I'm sorry." She pulled her hand back to rest in her lap, and the glanced towards the kitchen doors as two waiters delicately balancing full trays of drinks walked out. "I have an offer that I want you to consider."


Even as careful as Ziva's reply was, it was almost painful for Jenny to hear the excitement in her single word. She had hoped that Ziva would accept her offer, but she hated to see her this way.

"I want you to come and work at NCIS."

Ziva sat back in her chair heavily and stared at Jenny. "You are out of your mind." She said it so matter of factly, that Jenny blinked in surprise when the words penetrated. "They hate me. He killed - There is no way that they will work with me."

"They will," Jenny said firmly.

"My father-"

"Will agree to this too, if I ask him properly," Jenny countered again. "But the question is, what do you want?"

Ziva slumped lower into her seat. "What I wish is for Ari, not to have been a traitor." She looked away from Jenny's eyes and took a deep breath. "But since that was not to be, do you really want me to do this?" She looked back at Jenny. "I'm no investigator."

Jenny smiled. "Don't worry. Gibbs will take care of that." This time she did reach across the table to lay her hand on Ziva's wrist. "Besides, it will be nice to have a friendly face there."

Ziva looked at her knowingly. "It is more difficult than you expected."

"Nothing I can't handle," Jenny replied calmly.

"I'm sure," Ziva said smoothly.

"Is that a yes," Jenny persisted.

Ziva glanced down to where Jenny's hand still covered her wrist and then looked back up. "Yes." She smiled.

Jenny collected her bag. "Are you coming then? I thought you could give me a ride to my hotel."

"Are you sure he will agree to this," Ziva asked as they rose from the table and started towards the door.

"Gibbs or your father?"

Ziva shrugged. "Either...both."

"Trust me," Jenny said, "They will, both of them." Even if she would end up owing both of them.

They stopped briefly outside of the cafe. They were standing close enough that Jenny could feel her hand brush up against Ziva's.

"Where'd you leave your cab," Jenny asked quietly.

"This way," Ziva pointed, shrugging her leather jacket back around her shoulders before stepping out into the light rain. Jenny unfurled her umbrella and followed her. Once they were inside the cab they didn't speak again until they reached Jenny's hotel.

When they stopped again, Ziva got out to get Jenny's bag for her and handed it to the bellman before Jenny could say anything. She started to go back to her cab, but Jenny held out a hand to stop her.

"Will it blow your cover to come up to my room?"

"Mmm," Ziva pretended to think, "I think, perhaps, not." She smiled. "It might even do my credentials some good to be seen bedding the big shot American business woman."

Jenny smiled, instantly relaxing at Ziva acceptance. "Anyway I can be of service."

Ziva laughed and for the first time since they'd met Jenny thought the younger woman was truly happy again, at least for a moment.

As soon as they were inside the room, Ziva kissed her forcefully, pushing her back against the door as Jenny's hands tugged at her own clothing.

Ziva broke the kiss as she began undoing the buttons of Jenny's blouse. She paused only to look up at Jenny.

"I have missed you."

Jenny grinned back at her, feeling truly happy, "I've missed you too."

She pulled Ziva closer for another kiss and lost herself in the sensation.

This was going to work beautifully.

The End

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