Category: Romance, Crossover (JAG/NCIS)
Spoilers: No overt spoilers--however, for time-frame reference, this starts after "Persian Gulf" (JAG) and "Enigma" (NCIS).
Disclaimer: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: Okay, this is a clearly labeled Gibbs/Mac fic. If you are squicked by the thought of that pairing, don't read it, mmmkay? (So I'm a bit sensitive today. Sue me.)
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
--Robert Frost, "Fire and Ice"
Jethro Gibbs had always been fascinated by fire.
Leroy, the child, had had fingers scarred by reaching into the flame on the stove. His mother had spanked him before soothing his fingers with cooling balm, but he had never lost the love of the heat on his skin. Even the pain afterward could not convince him that playing with fire was a bad idea.
LJ, the teenager, had paid close attention in physics when they came to the topic of conduction. A few weeks later, he had gotten in trouble for setting a fire in the woods. It was a well-contained fire, and the neighbors had put it down to "boys will be boys", but his mother knew better and grounded him for a month.
When Gibbs joined the Marines, he finally learned to keep his interest under control. However, once he met Amanda (wife number one, as Tony liked to call her), that fascination had come back up to the surface. Her hair had reminded him of a fire flickering in the wind. The dark red had looked amazing spread out on the white pillowcase.
Of course, she had a fiery temper, as well. And for all of Gibbs' icy composure, he had not been able to quench that particular fire.
Two wives and countless flings later, he met Sarah MacKenzie. Colonel to her colleagues, Mac to her friends, and Sarah to few.
Colonel MacKenzie was a beautiful woman. He had never really considered her his "type". That first day, when he had interviewed her for the Singer investigation, he had been cool. Calm. Strictly professional. And so had she.
And then he told her about Rabb's unhealthy interest in her investigation into the late lieutenant's pregnancy. The flame that lit in her eyes intrigued him. And he knew that was not a good thing, and put as much space between himself and the colonel as possible.
He thought he had put that moment out of his mind, until ten months later.
It was an out-of-the-way Georgetown bar. Normally, he would spend his spare time working on his boat, but… something dragged him out of his basement and into the cold February air that night. Perhaps it was the last shred of humanity he possessed, needing, if not the companionship of another person, at least the acknowledgement that he was still a member of the human race.
He had noticed her immediately upon entrance. Some little part of his brain took in any new surroundings, processing perceived threats and escape routes, if necessary. The colonel was a blip on the radar of his mind.
She sat at the bar, hands curved around a glass of some clear liquid. She stared, unseeing, at the scarred wood of the bar. Gibbs sat next to her and ordered a brandy.
She didn't bother turning to him. She remained silent, toying with the glass. Gibbs raised an eyebrow. "You gonna drink that?"
Now she looked at him. Had he been a more careful man, he would have been concerned about the scowl on her face. As it was, the only thing he was concerned about was the dullness of her deep brown eyes.
"Go to hell, Agent Gibbs." Her voice was quiet, and lacked the fury that usually accompanied such a statement. He would know. He heard it a lot.
Gibbs shrugged. "I probably will."
The colonel shook her head and pushed her glass away. Gibbs reached out and snagged it. He brought it up to his nose and sniffed. Ah.
"Good choice, Colonel." He was pleased—though he didn't dare show it—when a spark of… something… came back into her eyes.
"What do you care?"
He shrugged again, and inwardly grinned as her hands clenched into fists. "I don't. But it wouldn't look good for a Marine officer to get drunk in public."
She growled deep in her throat and grabbed her purse. He watched her stomp out of the smoky bar. He smirked, tossed a few bills on the counter, and followed.
She walked down the sidewalk, paying no attention to the people around her. He followed her discreetly. She stopped at a crosswalk and waited for an opportunity to cross the street.
He caught up to her quickly. He wasn't surprised that she tried to deck him when he touched her elbow. He caught her fist just as it was about to smash into his nose. "Temper, temper, Colonel MacKenzie."
She got a look on her face reminiscent of his last ex-wife. The next words didn't come as much of a shock. "Fuck you."
He paused. His next words would either gain him a very pleasurable night—or a knee to the groin. Just in case, he shifted just out of range. "That can be arranged," he said in a low voice.
She stared at him for a moment. Then she smirked, grabbed his wrist, and dragged him across the street.
She had been molten lava beneath his skilled, work-roughened fingers. The heat of her gaze had reminded him of that first time he had put his fingers in the fire on the stove.
She was different from his other lovers. He usually preferred delicate redheads. Colonel MacKenzie wasn't a redhead—and she was anything but delicate.
He had traced his fingers over her body, memorizing the texture of her skin. He knew of many men who thought females couldn't be "real" Marines. He had outlined the puckered skin of her scars, and realized that they were wrong.
The next time they met was in a courtroom. He admired the length of her legs underneath the uniform skirt, even as she ripped his testimony to shreds.
She had stopped him on his way out of the building and slipped him a piece of paper. He glanced at it when he climbed into his car.
At 2000 that evening, he showed up at her door. The part of him that still answered to "Gunny" grinned wolfishly when she answered his knock, still dressed in her uniform.
He heard her voice calling his name, and caught himself before he smiled. He hadn't been Jethro to anyone for a long time. It didn't sound bad, coming from her.
He set down his hammer and called back to her, "I'm in the basement!"
He saw a tousled brown head peek down the stairs. "What are you doing here?" The question came out a bit more harshly than he'd wanted, but she didn't seem to mind.
She looked at him sheepishly. "I, uh, couldn't sleep."
He just nodded. He knew how that went. "There should be coffee in the pot upstairs." She gave him a small smile and headed back to the first floor.
When she returned, she carried two mugs. She handed him one and brought the other to her lips. She didn't gag or sputter, like most people did when first trying to drink his coffee. In fact, she seemed to like it.
He shrugged and went back to work.
A while later, she asked, "How do you plan on getting that out of here?"
He looked at the half-finished boat, up at her, and around the room. "Knock a hole in the wall if I have to."
She did something he had never made her do before.
He stroked her back through the soft, worn t-shirt.
Somehow, when he wasn't paying attention, "Colonel MacKenzie" had become "Sarah." He wasn't quite sure what he could do about that.
The rain pattered on the windowpane. He knew he should get up, leave before she woke, but he couldn't convince his body to move away from hers.
Her head rested on his chest, just above his heart. She breathed deeply, evenly. He was glad she could sleep.
He shifted slightly, preparing to ease out of bed. Her eyelids fluttered, and he froze. His heart nearly stopped when she yawned.
"You stayed." Her voice was thick with sleep, and her eyes held the glow of banked desire.
He cleared his throat at her slow smile. "Yeah." He hoped she wouldn't notice the roughness of his own voice.
"Good." She dropped his head back to his chest and closed her eyes once more.
He felt her heat against his body and a layer of ice melt from his heart.
Maybe he didn't want to do anything about it.