Disclaimer: I do not own any of the NCIS characters; I am just borrowing them for this story. May contain spanking or reference to spanking. Rated T for minor language and mild suggestive references.

Note: This is basically just a fluff piece, but my take on how things should have gone between Gibbs and Sheppard. It's a little long, but I couldn't find a good place to break it up into chapters.

Moving On

Mattie hurtled past Cynthia's desk toward the director's office. She needed to see Jenny immediately, if not sooner. She pushed open the door and slipped inside, shutting it just as quickly, and locking it behind her.

"Jenny, " she blurted, " you have to help me."

Jenny looked up at the explosive interruption that was Mattie then hurried around her desk to engulf the terrified girl in a warm and comforting hug.

"What's the matter, sweetie?" she asked with alarm.

"It's Gibbs." Mattie choked out. "He's after me. He's gonna kill me, I just know it."

Jenny stepped back and put her hands on her hips. "Mattie Leanne, what did you do?"

Mattie's bottom lip quivered, "It wasn't my fault. Tony was teasing me. I told him to stop, but he kept picking on me, and Gibbs wasn't around to make him stop."

Mattie paused to gulp back tears, "I was only trying to get back at Tony."

Jenny sat down and pulled Mattie into her lap. "Just tell me what happened."

Mattie stared down at the floor and scuffed her shoe. "I swear it was an accident, Jenny. I only meant to kick Tony in the leg after he pretended to smack me in the head, but I missed and hit his arm instead."

Mattie paused and Jenny looked at her in confusion. "Well, that doesn't sound too bad. Not something Jethro would be after you about."

Mattie gulped, "It wasn't that."

She bit her lip as Jenny lifted her chin so they could see eye to eye. "Mattie, what else happened?"

Mattie's shoulders shook, "When I kicked Tony's arm, I didn't realize he was holding a cup of coffee. The cup went flying and Gibbs walked right into it."

Jenny looked at Mattie, horrified. "You didn't?"

Mattie nodded miserably, "I didn't stay around to see what happened after that. I bolted, but I know Gibbs is after me. You gotta hide me, at least until he calms down."

Mattie grabbed Jenny by the arm, tears running down her face. "Please, Jenny. You're the only person he'll listen to. You gotta tell him it was an accident."

Just then, there was pounding on the door and the sound of Jethro yelling. "Open the door, Jenny. I know she's in there."

The color drained from Mattie's face and she shivered uncontrollably. "Please?" She mouthed at Jenny.

Jenny sighed and went to stand by the door. "Jethro, maybe you should go cool off for a bit. We can talk when you've calmed down."

Gibbs growled, "Dammit, Jen, open this door or I'll kick it down!"

Jenny stepped back in surprise. "You'll do no such thing, Special Agent Gibbs. Go cool off. Now! That's an order."

Mattie listened in apprehension at the byplay going on between Gibbs and Director Sheppard. She knew they were both very stubborn people, and Gibbs did not give up easily.

"Jen?" Gibbs voice came through the door. "Did she tell you why I chased her up here?"

Jenny folded her arms across her chest. "Who says she came up here?"

Gibbs sighed, "I saw her, Jen. She ran like a scared rabbit."

Jenny looked at Mattie before replying. "Okay, let's say, for argument's sake, that she did indeed come up here. Give me one good reason I should open this door?"

Gibbs paused, not sure he wanted the entire office to know what he was about to reveal. "Come close to the door, Jen."

Jenny spared a glance at Mattie before complying. Mattie just shrugged, as if to say 'don't look at me'.

"Alright, Jethro. I'm here. What is it?" Jenny answered.

Stepping up as close as he could to the door, Jethro whispered. "She's my daughter, our daughter."

There was silence for a minute then the door opened to reveal a very shaken Director Sheppard. "Are you sure?" Jenny's voice cracked with strain.

Jethro slipped inside the door, catching her as she started to fall. He held up a folder. "Ducky just gave me the results. I was coming to the bullpen to show her when a coffee cup went flying past my face. Thank goodness it was empty."

Mattie popped out of hiding, relieved to hear that she hadn't gotten Gibbs all covered in coffee. "Did you say the cup was empty?" She asked shakily.

Gibbs looked at her sternly, "Yes, I did. And if you'd stayed there instead of running off like you did, you'd have known that. And I wouldn't have had to track you down."

Mattie hung her head, "I'm sorry, Gibbs. I guess I let my imagination get the best of me. You're not mad at me, are you?"

Gibbs sighed, "No, I'm not mad, per se. I'm a little irritated that I had to run all the way up here after you. And, I was hoping to give you the news in private, before discussing it with Director Sheppard."

Mattie gulped, "I'm sorry, Gibbs. I didn't mean to cause you so many problems."

Gibbs sighed again and gathered Mattie up in his arms. "I know you are kiddo. And it's okay, really."

Mattie sniffled then threw her arms around Gibbs' neck. "So, am I in trouble?"

Gibbs ruffled her hair, "No, sweetie, not this time. But if you ever run from me again…"

He left the sentence incomplete, the threat open-ended. Mattie understood though. She'd had plenty of experience in the previous homes she'd lived in. Not all parents were equipped to handle a child of her complexities. She looked up at Gibbs, a question lurking behind her eyes.

Gibbs hid a grin, "Ask?"

Mattie fidgeted, tracing the piping on his collar before speaking softly. "Um, Gibbs, does this mean I get to live with you?"

Gibbs kissed her on the nose. "If that's what you want, sweetheart."

Mattie looked at Jenny out of the corner of her eye. The director's face was eerily calm. After recovering from Jethro's announcement, she'd distanced herself from their reunion. Now she held herself aloof, as if she wasn't concerned, and her insides weren't churning away with worry.

Mattie leaned over to caress Jenny's cheek. "Are you okay with this, Jenny? With us?"

Jenny stared a minute then turned away so Jethro wouldn't see the tears streaming down her face. "It's not up to me, Mattie. It's your decision, yours and Jethro's."

It was the hardest thing she'd had to say, letting go this way, but she had no right to put any conditions on Jethro.

Mattie smiled, "Well, if it's my choice, I choose both of you."

Gibbs looked at Jenny, then at Mattie. Jenny stayed silent, determined to make Jethro explain to Mattie how things were between them.

Gibbs cleared his throat. "Mattie, it's not that simple. Jenny and I haven't been together for over six years."

Mattie glared at Gibbs. "I don't care. I'm not giving up either of you. I refuse to choose between you."

Gibbs looked away in silent anguish. Jenny finally took pity on him and explained. "Mattie, things between us are complicated. I'm his boss for one thing. And, for another, Gibbs isn't ready to move on."

Mattie's lip trembled, "But, I get to see both of you, right?"

Gibbs hugged Mattie. "Of course, sweetheart. We're both here for you. Right, Jen?"

Jenny nodded, her back still turned. "Of course. Mattie, you are welcome to visit me anytime you want."

Mattie scowled and punched Gibbs on the arm. "Gibbs, tell her she can stay with us."

Gibbs gave Mattie a mock-glare and rubbed his arm vigorously. The punch hadn't really hurt, but he needed time to collect his thoughts.

"Mattie, it's not that simple. Two people don't just magically get back together and live happily ever after, after a separation of this length and magnitude."

Mattie scrunched up her face and began beating on his chest. "I don't care!" She screamed. "You have to live together. It's not fair…"

Mattie's tantrum was cut short by a sharp swat and a stern look from Gibbs. Her mouth opened in a silent "O" then she burst into tears. Wriggling around, Mattie tried to escape Gibbs' grip, but he refused to let go. He rubbed her back soothingly.

"Just let it all go, baby. It's all right."

Mattie finally quit struggling and sobbed into Jethro's shoulder, her tiny arms clinging to his neck. "I...I'm s…sorry, Daddy-Gibbs." she finally choked out.

Gibbs sat down on the edge of the sofa and held his daughter tenderly. He rubbed her back and kissed the top of her head. Finally, Mattie looked up at him with red, puffy eyes.

"Are you mad at me?"

Gibbs smiled gently and shook his head, "I was never mad at you."

Mattie cocked her head, confused. "But, you swatted me."

Gibbs raised an eyebrow. "You were getting out of hand with that tantrum, baby girl. I needed to rein you in before things got completely out of control. And I won't hesitate to do it again if you throw another tantrum."

Mattie got the message, hugging Gibbs tightly again. She turned to look at Jenny, who was trying hard not to watch the tender scene between father and daughter.

Mattie wriggled around on Gibbs' lap as he tickled her gently. "Are you okay sweetie?"

Mattie nodded then whispered in his ear. Gibbs grinned as Mattie slid off his lap. Standing up ever so quietly, Gibbs stepped up behind Jenny, reached around her, and started tickling her.

Jenny squealed and whirled around, hands outstretched to defend herself from Jethro's deft fingers. She glared at him in mock-anger then slugged him on the arm.

"Not funny, Jethro." She scowled at him.

Gibbs just grinned that infuriatingly smile of his. Mattie collapsed on the couch in a fit of giggles. Jenny put her hands on her hips and glared at the both of them.

"Are the two of you ganging up on me?"

Mattie gulped, looking over at Gibbs for help. He quickly scooped his baby girl up in his arms, grinning cheekily at the director.

"You betcha."

Jenny tried to be mad at them, but the sight of Jethro grinning playfully at her, and Mattie messing up his perfectly combed hair was too much for her and she grinned back. When Gibbs looked down at Mattie in mock-horror, Jenny leaned over her desk and retrieved a camera she kept stashed in her top drawer.

Then, before the moment was lost, she snapped a picture of Mattie and Gibbs, his hair all out of place, looking like bed head, and Mattie giggling at the funny faces he was making. Gibbs looked up almost guiltily, eyes narrowing as Jenny grinned at him over the camera. He set Mattie down on the couch and advanced on Jenny, pinning her to the desk.

"Give me the camera." He growled at her.

Jenny shook her head, holding the camera out of reach. Not to be deterred, Gibbs leaned around her, reaching for the camera. Jenny grinned, twisting her body to keep the camera away from him.

Gibbs grinned at the director playfully as he stood up, his body pinning her to the desk. Her eyes widened as she realized the precarious position she was in. She gave herself a mental head-slap for letting Gibbs maneuver her into this position.

She tried to get away, but Gibbs held her tightly, one hand on her back, slowly pushing her down over the edge of the desk. His other hand rested on her waist, his fingertips ever so slightly grazing her backside. She had no illusions about his intentions, but she wasn't giving up without a fight. The camera was only a pretext, a prop, and they both knew it.

"Give me the camera." Jethro drawled, his fingers tapping lightly on Jenny's twitching backside.

"No." Jen tried to keep from sounding petulant, but wasn't sure she'd succeeded.

She felt Jethro's hand leave her body and she tensed. Gibbs grinned then brought his hand down lightly across the middle of her upturned bottom.

Jenny gasped, more from indignation and embarrassment than anything else. She felt him lift his hand again and she flinched, cursing herself for feeling this way every time he was near. Damn those baby blues.

"Give me the camera, Jen." Gibbs smirked at her predicament.

Jenny bit her lip and considered her options. If she gave in, she'd feel like a fool for not standing up to him. If she didn't give in, who knew how long he'd keep her like this. She didn't think she could order him. He'd already shown a general disdain for the chain of command, especially when it came to women. Her knees were going weak, and she wasn't sure how long she could hold out. Her musings were interrupted by another gentle *smack* to the center of her bottom.

She jumped, "Ow! That wasn't fair, Jethro."

"Sorry, Jen." He chuckled, not sounding sorry at all. "Your mind was wandering, and I didn't want you to forget why you were here."

She glared at him over her shoulder. He didn't seem the least bit repentant. She stuck out her tongue and was rewarded with another light *smack*.

"I can keep this up, forever, Jen. Can you?" He sounded stern, but the twinkle in his eyes belied the seriousness of his voice.

Jenny squirmed, trying to determine if Jethro was serious. "Jethro, let me up right now."

"Nope." Jethro drawled, completely enjoying the view and Jenny's discomfiture. "Not until you give me the camera."

Jenny growled in frustration, "Dammit, Jethro. I'm your boss, and I'm ordering you to let me go."

Gibbs' only reply was a snicker and another leisurely swat to the seat of her lovely backside. He heard her growl and watched her squirm. It had been a long time since he'd had her in such a delicious predicament.

Gibbs leaned down and whispered in her ear. "How about a compromise, Director?"

Jenny pushed back against him demurely, "What exactly did you have in mind, Agent Gibbs?"

Jethro pretended to think for a minute. "How about you come to dinner tonight, and I let you keep the picture?

Jenny grinned, "You'll, let, me keep the picture? What makes you thing you can…"

Jenny's diatribe was interrupted as Gibbs stepped back abruptly while keeping a hold on her wrist. He whirled her around, trapping her body against his, pinning her arm behind her. He plucked the camera out of her other hand before she could even blink.

He smirked at her infuriatingly, "You were saying?"

Jenny glowered at him as she realized he had only been toying with her. She should have known it was useless to fight him. Once a marine, always a marine.

"So, " she huffed, "were you just toying with me so you could play with my ass?"

Gibbs grinned impudently, setting the camera on the desk and pulling her to him. "Maybe."

"Dammit, Jethro!" Jenny growled. "You are one sanctimonious, son of a …"

Gibbs grabbed her other arm as she pounded on his chest then leaned down to capture her lips in a warm and inviting kiss. Jenny's knees went weak and she moaned as he pressed his lips to hers. Her eyes fluttered as she looked into Jethro's baby blues. She stopped struggling and accepted Jethro's kiss, returning it with such fervor that his face flushed and he had to pull back to get some air.

Jenny smiled at him coyly and waited for his reaction. She wasn't long in waiting though as he leaned into her until their heads were touching.

"So, about dinner… Are you coming over tonight?"

She could see the vulnerability in his eyes and her eyes misted in sudden tenderness. "I would love to, Jethro. Can I stay for breakfast?"

Gibbs stepped back and cleared his throat in an attempt to cover the tears that threatened to fall. His voice was gruff, but she didn't hold it against him.

"Hmmm, well, I guess we'll see you at 7 then. Don't be late."

He quickly turned and scooped up a sleeping Mattie and strode from the room. He was fighting to hide his emotions, but it was a losing battle. He headed for the elevator, hitting the emergency stop as soon as the doors had closed.

When he slumped to the floor, Mattie snuggled into his neck, hoping for a quick cuddle. She opened one eye, watching his face for signs of what had transpired earlier.

"Daddy-Gibbs?" She ventured gently. "Is everything okay?"

"Everything's fine." Gibbs answered distractedly, not really paying attention to her question, his mind still trying to process the kiss he and Jenny had shared.

Mattie sat up and cupped his face in her tiny hands. "Daddy-Gibbs!" She demanded. He looked at her in bewilderment. She softened her voice. "Are you okay?"

Gibbs smiled and gave Mattie a hug. "Yes, sweet pea. I'm okay." He paused then kissed her on the nose. "Actually, you know what? I'm better than okay."

Mattie returned his smile. "Does that mean that Jenny is coming over for dinner tonight?"

Gibbs looked at Mattie suspiciously. "And how would you know anything about that?"

Mattie squirmed in his lap, "Um, I wasn't actually asleep earlier, on the couch. I heard everything you and Jenny said."

Gibbs flipped Mattie over and rested a hand on her trembling bottom. "I see," he said, tapping his fingers on her backside. "And did you see everything too?"

Mattie shook her head vehemently, "No, Gibbs. I swear. I didn't see a thing."

Gibbs grinned as Mattie's backside twitched with every tap of his fingers. Finally taking pity on her, he flipped her up to a sitting position and gave her a hug.

"Relax kiddo. I'm not going to spank you, this time."

Mattie sighed in relief then looked Gibbs straight in the eye. "So, you never answered my question. Is Jenny coming to dinner?"

Gibbs smirked at Mattie's impatience. "Yes, baby, Jenny is coming for dinner."

Mattie pumped her little fist and squealed, "Yes!"

Gibbs laughed and started tickling Mattie unmercifully as she giggled and wiggled on his lap. He couldn't remember the last time he had laughed so openly, or the last time he had felt so happy.

Shannon hugged Kelly as they watched the antics in the elevator. She smiled through her tears as the burden of guilt finally rolled from Jethro's shoulders. Leaning down, she kissed Jethro lightly on the cheek and whispered "Goodbye, Jethro".

Jethro looked up abruptly, feeling as if he'd just lost something dear. Taking advantage of the distraction, Mattie leaped on his chest, knocking him to the floor, and covering his face with kisses. He grinned at Mattie and Shannon's moment was lost. A small tear escaped her eye as she and Kelly faded away.

Mattie breathed a silent 'Thank you' to their retreating figures then returned her attention to Gibbs. Gibbs hugged Mattie tightly, not really understanding what had happened, but grateful for the feeling of complete freedom he'd not felt in a very long time.

Mattie sighed and said a quick prayer of thanks for Tony's empty coffee cup.

*** The End ***

Epilog: Two months later, Gibbs and Jenny were married. Jenny stepped down from her position as director, choosing instead to work as Abby's unofficial lab assistant. Mattie moved into Kelly's room and felt right at home.

Tell me what you think peeps.