The steady sound of scraping against wood filled the dusty basement, sanding away the imperfections and smoothing the beams of what looked to be yet another boat, Leroy Jethro Gibbs was hard at work. The not uncommon sound of the television was playing in the background but that was really all it was, background noise. It was a relatively quiet evening, the night was slowly creeping in but the time was not the most pressing matter on the seasoned investigators mind. No, it was that night again, the eve of the winter solstice and a full moon to boot. This sort of coincidence never sat well with special agent Gibbs, though this was the first time the moon was full. No matter, every year since that day, on this very night, he would lock himself away in his basement to avoid the clockwork knocking and rattling that assaulted his house. Every year since their deaths someone would come and knock on the door, rattle and throw things at the windows. Now, Gibbs was not one to believe in such things as ghosts or spirits, but never in all the years has he been able to find the culprit behind these visits. Every morning he would come out and find only a thin layer of freshly fallen snow. There were times in the earlier years when he actually took the time to go outside to investigate but even then he never found anything.
Since then he'd grown used to it, much the same way he'd grown used to putting up with DiNozzo's antics. Though, were he given the unlikely opportunity to actually catch this tormentor he probably would give this person more than a smack upside the head. The sound of something hitting the front door broke the man from his thoughts temporarily; his busy hands paused and listened. The silence was almost deafening until a thunk struck the living room window just above his little workshop. Letting out a sigh, he went back to work; the sanding was always the most relaxing part of woodworking. At least for him it was. By now the only thing playing on the small television was the news and it was all the same old news they enjoyed airing. Usually by this point he grew tired of listening and shut the television off. Upon doing so he noticed something different, silence…there was no rattling, no knocking, no thunks or thuds of foreign objects hitting windows. Perhaps his yearly visitor had gotten the message and gave up. The Marine gave this mystery person some credit for being persistent, especially over this many years. This stranger certainly bothered his ex-wives so perhaps he would attempt to approach this person once more; of course he would have to report them for harassment should he find he dislikes them.
Setting his tools down, Jethro moved around the large boat frame and made for the stairs. Ascending said stairs, Jethro left the basement but kept the light on, after all he wasn't done working and should this turn out fruitless like those nights in the past, it was always nice to have something to go back to. This night, the older man took notice to his living room window, there looked to be the remains of a half melted snow ball. The sound usually made by the windows fit the description of a snowball. Ignoring it for the time, Gibbs approached the front door and paused, the years have taught him not to expect much but the strange silence was enough to entice him this far. Opening the large door, he stepped outside and found nothing but cold and softly falling snow. Expecting nothing less, he let out an unsurprised sigh before stepping back inside. There was a particularly strong gust of wind that followed him, but he slammed the door shut before any snow could get inside.
Having gotten that out of his system, Gibbs retreated to his basement sanctuary. Shutting the basement door behind him and moving over to one of his hidden liquor bottles. Dumping out a jar of bolts and giving the inside a quick blow to clear out the remaining dust, he poured himself a glass. Lifting it to his lips to enjoy a sip, Gibbs found himself stopping once more. The glass and the contents suddenly grew very cold, cold enough for him to lower it and set it back on the counter. On closer inspection, he found a partially melting frost pattern. Even on some of the coldest nights in this area, frost never formed that quickly; especially not in a heated basement. Putting aside the presence of dry ice, Gibbs allowed his eyes to scan the basement. His gut was telling him that there was somebody else in the basement with him.
"Very clever; why don't you say hello," he said casually but his keen eyes continued to search for any sign of movement, or if the intruder chose to respond, to locate were the voice would come from, "You've been at this for several years, it's the least you can do now that you've gotten inside my house, don't you think."
Perched on top of his crooked staff, Jack Frost listened and considered the man's suggestion. Of course, he knew should he choose to respond the other would not hear him. The winter spirit was intrigued though, even if this man didn't actually believe in him, he could still sense his presence. That must mean something, perhaps somewhere deep down there was still…well…something. For that was why he was there in the first place. Yes he'd been coming to visit Leroy Jethro Gibbs every year since the death of his wife Shannon and daughter Kelly. It had been the Jack's first experience with the passing of a believer; the event struck him very hard. The other Guardians as well, but they had been doing this far longer than he and had experienced it many times in the past. It was never easy, they each had their own ways of dealing with such a passing but Jack was still new to being a Guardian. So, each year he would visit the man who suffered the loss and try to bring a little joy and fun back.
Of course, it took him this long to finally work his way into the man's house since he kept the place locked down like Fort Knox. People in this city were far more paranoid than those in Burgess; that was for sure. Jack just sighed, Gibbs was right though, it had been many years and perhaps his plan was now a bit out dated? He never actually thought he'd get this far so now that he was there, Jack had to think of a new approach. Finding that his crouched position wasn't working for his thought process, Jack hopped down and twirled his staff around. He couldn't speak to this man but he felt he had to say something; after all it was the very least he could, should…do.
Reaching a hand out, Jack touched his index finger to the wooden counter and wrote out the word, 'hello', in frost. At first this went unnoticed until Gibbs picked up on the faint crackling sound of contrasting temperatures. Looking down, he saw the word and looked for a moment taken aback. Seeing that the room was empty, he just chuckled and shook his head. It felt strange but he was reminded of something his daughter used to say. Like any child, she used to talk about this friend that nobody else could see. Not that she was a lonely child, she made real friends just fine, but this one was special. Like most parents, he had just praised her and her wonderful imagination. Of snowball wars and wondrous mountains of snow just right for sledding. Of course, that also meant that this figurative friend was in fact real and yet could not be seen. Gabby would have a field day if she learned of this unorthodox encounter.
"Ah, I see now," he finally spoke, Jack seemed entertained that the other was holding a somewhat one sided conversation with someone he couldn't see or even hear, "You must be Kelly's friend."
This time Jack was the one to pause, he'd been circling the boat during their silence and even once when Gibbs spoke again, now he was standing just behind it. Kids retelling their parents of the adventures they had with him was to be expected, but the way Gibbs responded sounded almost as if he actually believed them now. Remaining silent, Jack hopped up onto the boat frame, he opened his mouth ready to test a theory he'd just had when Gibbs turned and looked right at him. Freezing like a deer in the headlights, and looking like one as well, the spirit kept very still.
"Hmm," Gibbs just gave one of his crooked amused smiles before shaking his head, "Next time just ask to come inside, now get outta here kid, I've got work in the morning." And with that, Gibbs abandoned his drink and made his way back up the basement stares. He shut the light off this time leaving Jack in the darkness looking rather dumbfounded. He honestly couldn't tell if that man had actually seen him or if it was just some crazy coincidence. Of course, that only proved to lift his spirits. There was still some fun left in the man, and the invitation to come back meant he didn't have to sink to acting like a poltergeist…not that he wouldn't from time to time just for old time's sake.
"Heh, not bad yourself Gibbs," Jack finally spoke, "I may just have to take you up on that." With a crooked grin of his own, Jack swiftly departed the basement and slipped out the conveniently unlocked front door. Calling to the wind and being lifted into the air, Jack disappeared into the night sky. However, the next morning Washington D.C. experienced a record snow fall.