Prompt: You start receiving little Valentine's gifts on the 14th of every month. Each gift is more daring or expensive than the last, and strangely, each of them answers your wishes; even your unspoken ones. Only problem is, no one around you ever notices you so no one could know you intimately enough to know your wishes. Who is your secret admirer?
The first thing she notices walking into the lab is the large vase of black and red roses sitting on her desk. Curious, she heads there first, expecting to find a note, a card, anything. But the vase sits there, nothing giving anything away. It's only when she moves them over that she finds the note with her name on it. When she dusts for prints, there is none.
Kate and Ziva comment on them, asking who she was seeing. When she assures then she's dating no one, Kate brings up a secret admirer. She laughs and brushes it off. She didn't get secret admirers.
She wears red today because it's Valentine's Day. She gets her obligatory Caf-Pow, the "I love you" on the heart making her smile. Gibbs does it every year, and it's a nice gesture. McGee treats her to an early lunch, and she happily accepts.
When she gets back from lunch, a box of chocolates is tucked up besides Burt. Smart place to put them, considering Tony could smell chocolate from the bullpen. Again, she dusts for prints, and again there are none. Maybe Kate was right. She enjoys them after work as a treat.
She's four drinks past her limit when she decides she wants to go home. Even before St Patrick's Day, the bar was packed and finding a sober ride home would be tough. She pulls out her phone, hoping to call a cab, when she realizes her phone is dead. She curses and mentally headslaps herself, heading towards the door.
To her surprise, a cab driver is waiting outside the bar when she eventually stumbles out. For a moment, she's not sure he's there for her, but he addresses her by name, assures her that her ride is paid for and helps her in. She's too far gone to question it, but the next morning when she wakes up with a killer hangover, she sees the receipt he had handed her, the time stamp a mere 5 minutes before she came out of the bar. And wouldn't you know it, her secret admirer paid with cash.
She finds herself wishing she had an umbrella halfway to work when it started to pour. She's soaked through by the time she gets to work, her car having not started and her pride too strong for her to call for a ride. It's not like she thinks she's invisible. She knows her coworkers care. But she also knows how hard they work, and they don't need to go out of their way for her.
By the time her shift is over, 18 hours later, the rain is still coming down hard. She resigns herself to another shower in the rain, when she notices the umbrella hanging in front of her coat on the rack. She doesn't bother dusting for prints, just sends a silent thank you to her admirer.
With her past experience with stalking, she felt like she could be more careful. Sure, the roses and chocolates and umbrella were nice, but the whole knowing her address thing was still creeping her out. She's been in a bad mood all day, snapping at everyone, even Gibbs.
She takes an earlier lunch break than normal, hoping to cool off. When she gets back, there's a chocolate cupcake sitting in a box on her desk. There's a note this time, but there's no handwriting she recognizes. Abby, it reads, Enjoy. It's not signed. And it makes her smile for the first time all day.
The tickets for a concert she'd been looking forward to sold out within the first few hours. She's disappointed, having already requested the time off work. It was taking place this weekend, and she knew a few of her friends had gotten tickets. One of her friends, Michelle, had texted her this morning, excited beyond belief. She was happy for them. She just hoped they took pictures.
A trip to the evidence garage takes her out of her lab, and when she comes back, there's an envelope sitting on her keyboard. She frowns, setting down the evidence she brought up. The front of the envelope has her name on it, and while the handwriting looks familiar, she can't place it. She opens it and lets out a gasp as she pulls the concert ticket – the sold-out concert ticket – from inside it. Have fun, the note attached says.
She'd been up for nearly three days straight, running test after test, hoping to get a lead on a Petty Officer's kidnapped daughter. They'd managed to find her in time, and Gibbs and the team were on some much deserved - and needed - time off. She was too, but she was finding it hard falling asleep. There was still ten minutes until midnight and she'd yet to receive her monthly gift from her admirer. It was strange, but she was used to the gifts by now. Maybe this was what they'd wanted, to get into her head, make her excited for more, only to be…
The knocking on her door pulled her from her thoughts. She checked the clock, 11:55. She wrapped her robe around herself, tying it, before heading to her door. The peephole showing no one, she opened the door. She looked down both hallways, seeing no one. On the ground was a gift basket, her name on it. The first thing she saw was three coupons for a spa day at the new massage parlor in the city. Maybe Ziva and Kate would want to go. It had been awhile since they last had a girl's night. The rest of the gift box was a collection of cheesy rom-coms and wine. Whoever her admirer was, they were really thoughtful.
She was early. She was nearly a week early, and her cramps were killing her. She hadn't even thought to bring her heating pad with her to work, which is what she did when her time of the month hit. It only ever lasted a few days, but her body hated her during it. And she'd used her last tampon that morning. Usually Kate or Ziva kept some in their desks, but Gibbs and co were at a crime scene, which meant their drawers were locked. Ducky and Jimmy were there too, which meant no trip to Autopsy to see if Ducky had any ibuprofen. Briefly, she considering asking Cynthia or even the Director, but the thought left her mind immediately. She'd just have to resort to using the pads she kept here and do her best to ignore the pain.
A trip to the bathroom later, she's returning to her lab, still in pain but not worried about toxic shock syndrome. There's a paper bag by her office computer. Curious, she makes her way over. There's a note attached. Abby, it read, hope your day gets better. There's still no signature, but she knows it's from her admirer. She opens the bag and nearly starts crying. A box of tampons, a heating pad and a bag of chocolate kisses are packaged neatly. Strike that last thought; she definitely felt tears in her eyes.
Her favorite collar broke a week ago, and she's been desperate to replace it. It was blood red, studded, a gift to herself after she'd landed her job at NCIS. Sure, it had seen some wear and tear, but she never thought it would just break. Despite all her searching online and in stores, it seemed like she'd never find the exact replacement.
A long box is sitting on her desk when she gets back from updating the team. Eagerly, she picks it up, takes it back into her office. She opens it carefully, and she gasps aloud. The collar - her collar - lays there, perfect and beautiful, new and shiny. When she pulls it out and puts it on, she notices the note, folded up. I hope it's the right one. Took forever to find it. To her surprise, this one is signed with initials. JS
For the last month, she's been compiling a log of all the employees at NCIS HQ with the initials JS. So far, she'd found at least 10. She filtered out people who were in relationships and came up with two. Jane Swift, legal department, and John Sweeney, IT department. It had to be one of them, otherwise her admirer was using a pseudonym. Her admirer seemed to know when she left the lab, so she was leaning more towards John. Before she left to visit Autopsy, she left a quick note on her desk. Jane Swift? John Sweeney?
When she returned nearly 20 minutes later, there was a Caf-Pow on her desk and one in her fridge. She didn't realize how thirsty she was until she saw it. She looks at the note she left to see her admirer's answer. No. She was stumped.
Director Shepard is waiting for her when she gets off the elevator in the morning. It's nearly 0630 in the morning but her boss didn't look the least bit tired, even though she knew that she'd gotten home from a business meeting in Europe a few hours ago. Scuttlebutt traveled fast with Team Gibbs.
She wants an update on Gibbs' latest case, and while she doesn't question why she's not getting the answer from the man himself, she's more than happy to help. As the Director thanks her and leaves, she catches sight of a small box she hadn't noticed before. It sits next to her computer monitor, and when she opens it, she finds a gorgeous silver locket. Like before, there's a note attached, Not your type, I know, but I hope you'll wear it. Happy Birthday. She puts it on, a smile coming to her face.
Snow comes down in sheets, coating the ground with blankets of white. When she heads to work in the morning, it's just light flurries, but when she gets off, however, she notices that DC has the makings of a blizzard. Her phone buzzes with a weather advisory. Roads aren't safe, watch for ice. She wonders what her chances are of getting home that night, but she knows her heater had been struggling to keep up. Maybe she'd be better off staying the night at HQ.
She busies herself with making up her futon, her music blaring through the speakers. All of the sudden, the power flickers. She pauses, holding her breath. She didn't have enough blankets if the power went out.
"Abby." She jumps, startled at the voice behind her. She turns to find the Director smiling softly at her, "Didn't mean to frighten you. I brought you something."
"How'd you know I was still here?"
"I saw your car. Well, the red underneath all the white. Figured you'd still be here."
"Why are you still here?"
"Stayed too late. Hoping the storm lets up soon."
"Oh," she pauses, catching sight of the bundle in the redhead's arm, her other hand behind her, "Is that for me?"
"I figured you'd need it. Just a blanket I picked up a while back."
She takes it with a smile, "Thanks! I didn't realize I'd need a thicker one…" she trails off suddenly, realization dawning on her. "Are you…" There was no way. She was just imagining things. "Never mind. Thanks for the blanket, Director Shepard." She turns away again, busying herself with laying the additional blanket down, when she realizes that the redhead hadn't moved. "Was there something else, Director?"
"That wasn't your present."
She nearly gives herself whiplash when she turns to face her again.
"What did you say?"
"I said, that wasn't your present." She stands rooted in place as Jenny steps closer. "I left my initials 3 months ago, Abbs."
JS. Jennifer Shepard. She'd looked into employees. She hadn't thought to look up all people at HQ.
"It is you."
Jenny nodded, "It's me."
"Why didn't you just tell me?"
"I wanted to woo you, to treat you special. I liked the idea of leaving you gifts. You're still wearing the necklace."
She reaches up to grab it gently, "It's perfect. But what's my present this month?"
Jenny smiles softly, pulling a black rose from behind her back, "I thought maybe I could interest you in a date. Not tonight because of the weather, but this weekend, hopefully? Anywhere you'd like."
She feels a smile slipping onto her lips as she takes the rose, "You give me expensive gifts for an entire year and still want to take me out?"
"Of course," Jenny replies with a smile of her own, "And possibly a second date."
"And a third?"
This time, Jen laughs, uses her thumbs to stroke her waist, "Mhmm. Whatever you'd like."
She leans forward with a smile, brushing their lips together softly, "I'm sold."