Heavy steps rushed down the hall.
Doors were slammed.
„Where is she? I've got to see her!“
Harriett usullay wasn't curious, at least not so obvious.
But the voice was alarming her.
It sounded like Gs.
Though she couldn't imagine him being so upset at all, she left her office and stepped out into the small hall.
The glass door to the entry of the autopsy room was standing open.
Compartement doors were slammed, stretchers were rattling in their rails.
Roses voice was cracking, as always, when she was nervous, her words got muddled.
„Rose, a small woman with blonde hair … „
Gs voice broke.
Harriett rushed into the big tiled room, where it was always cold in.
G was standing beside one of the compartements, the stretcher was pulled out and the cloth, usullay covering the body, was folded back.
Rose stood at the other side of the compartement, kneading her fingers nervously and stepping from one foot to the other.
Harriett approached carefully.
Gs face was covered with sweat, pale.
His chest was going up and down quickly.
She had never seen him like this before.
„Oh … it's good you're here, Miss Wycombe!“ said Rose, the coroner, and smiled in a bit of a relief.
G did not react on her.
He was starring down on a young woman with blonde hair, after an autopsy, a bit yellowish, with the common blue and red patches on her body.
„Who is that?“ Harriett asked uneased.
G didn't answer, was still starring at the woman.
„Unknown murdervictim, found in an appartement at the harbour, on sunday!“ was Roses quick answer.
„Alina Rostoff.“ added G now.
For a moment his voice sounded hoarse.
„Thirty-four years old, she lived ... in Venice ... at the Ocean Drive!“
A touch of astonishment was to hear in his last sentence.
Harriett caught his eye.
„You know her?“
Carefully she approached him, put her hand gentle on his arm.
On her fingertips she could notice him trembling a little bit.
„Yes... my little sister … „
G added something in a language which Harriett did not understand.
Though there was a little shaking in his voice, the words sounded hard and tuneless.
Harriett did not like it, there were others, sounding soft and silky!
G reached out his hand and pulled the sheet back over the body, in a determined gesture.
Then he turned and left the room.
„Thank you, Rose!“ Harriett quickly said to her und then followed G out.
He was standing in the hallway.
With his back lent against the wall, both arms crossed in front of his chest, in order to keep anything away from him, his right foot backed against the wall.
The expression of his face was stubborn.
Hariett didn't know anyone looking more stubborn than G could.
Even Sams little daughter could not!
His lips were pressed together very tightly then.
Harriett stopped beside him.
„I am very sorry!“
G looked at her.
Rose left the room, looked at them long while she was passing by before entering the autopsy room next door.
G stroke with his hand over his face.
For a moment she saw a small shimmering in his blue eyes.
Here, with the bright cold light, his face was still pale.
From one second to the other he looked very tired and affected!
His broad shoulders sank down.
„I'll drive home! Are you finished here, do you come with me?“
Harriett exhaled deeply.
„Yes ... of course! I just put out my PC! Do you want to come over with me?“
„I'll wait outside at the car!“ G answered.
She looked at him.
Secretly she was waiting for an explanation.
But she already knew G well enough to know, that he wasn't to impose with the common standards.
She got used to this just slowly.
„Of course. See you!“
G pushed himself away from the wall and put an quick kiss on her cheek, Harriett felt his hand slightly caressing her shoulder before he went away.
She rushed to her office, secured the letter, she was writing before all this started, in the writing program, broke the PC and took her bag.
Then she locked her office und went down the hall to the exit.
She just was here for a few weeks.
Hetty took care that she could change her work at the healthcenter of the NCIS for a job at the coroners office.
It was her opinion that it was better for all of them, if she was no longer working so close to G, and G and she agreed with her.
It was really good.
So she got a little distance.
And for a little distance she was longing now.
Never before she had G seen so touched by a case.
He stood lent back at the trunk of his jaguar, wearing his sunglasses, his legs crossed
easy and his armes again crossed in front of his chest.
The sun was going down slowly and he stood in its warm golden glow.
If not wearing this awfully chequered shirt he couldn't look any cooler.
During the day he must had change clothes, by leaving this morning he was wearing a grey shirt to his jeans.
Harriett avoided to sneak up to G.
She'd done it once, at her home.
G had been sitting in the living room, reading the newspaper as she approached from the hall to his chair, caressing her hand over his shoulder.
G was alarmed.
His grasp to her arm was very pauinful-tight for seconds, Harriett was convinced, that she was only a moment away from beeing wrestled to the ground.
Now she could smile, remembering it.
„Here I am!“
In a little curve she went to him, stopped beside him.
G took off his glasses and looked at her.
He still looked distressed.
His small smile for her did not fool her.
His beautiful eyes were a little red.
Harriett instinctivly stretched out her left hand and carressed his arm.
The cloth of his shirt felt rough.
„Obviously another Gollum-Day for you, wasn't it?“
The small smile, scurrying over Gs face, was really amused.
Unfortunately, it didn't last long.
„Yes.“ he just meant.
His tired eyes wandered over her face for a long moment.
"Come, let's go home!" he meant.
Harriett nodded silently.
She looked at G, getting his car keys out of his Jeans and disarming the central locking of the car, then he went to the passenger side and opened the door for her.
"Thank you, G!"
Harriett loved his good manners.
It were decent, but natural for him, very pleasantly.
She remembered very well the situation at the christmas party at the NCIS-Office, as Kensi was bowing over very deep in her pretty much low cut shirt to grab something on the table.
G, towards her, had looked away immediately, Harriett was still loving him today for that.
Marty Deeks, on the other side, was making big eyes, but that was allright for Harriett, for her it was just a matter of time, until Kensi and him would get together at least.
G closed the door behind her and while he was going around the car, then getting in at the driver side beside her, closing the door, she fastened her seatbealt.
Harriett looked over to him while he was starting the car.
"Where do we stay?" she asked.
She was aksing him this every evening because at the moment they hadn't a permanent residence.
She, Harriett, was about to move out when Moniqué Debassieré found out her address and shot at her.
While she was still in a safe place, G had her flat dissolved; her furniture was in a storeroom and they spend their evenings, their nights either at the boat-shelf, at motels or sometimes at the NCIS-Office.
Because G confessed to her, that he wasn't owning a flat.
After leaving the hospital he was staying at different motels, at the NCIS-Office or at the boat-shelf.
Sam offered him their guest room, she got close with G while he was staying there and getting use to it very slowly, very patiently by her, he finally arrived at her old flat.
Now she was looking for a new one.
G wasn't a help after all.
Of course he drove her to all addresses and looked with her at all the appartements, but he seemed to be very uninterested.
Harriett understood after looking at three appartements, that he wasn't keen to move in with her obviously.
She expected it, it seemend logical to her, because he hadn't a home for his own.
But that doesn't seem necessary for G!
It was a painful insight for her, Harriett had doubted her relationship once more!
Doubted it very much!
But G was going on beeing loving, caring for her, and so she finally understood, it was just her way of thinking being in her way!
So she tried getting easy with it, to accept Gs kind of living.
Sometimes it was a little hard.
They couldn't stay at the boat-shelf when suspects were held there.
Harriett never felt completely comfortable at the wide, open NCIS-Office, she liked being there, she liked the house, but she always had the feeling there, anyone could walk into the rooms from anywhere to any time.
Some of the different motels, they were staying then, were the kind Harriett never had stayed in by her own choice.
But they never stayed there longer than two nights and so she tried not to notice the not so clean rooms, the filthy ambience or the unusual simplicity.
G even had surprised her some times on his weekends off duty with luxury hotels.
They had a very precious suite then, he took her to Dinner and treated her to the Spa.
But the strange thing was, that all this happened with a fake name.
G owened a passport, a drivers licence and a credit card with the name ' Jason
Tedrow ' and asked her to use this name for him when they were in public.
But Harriett did not like secrets, it was so uncomfortable.
Because of this she liked the cosy comforteness of the boat-shelf.
"We're driving to the boat-shelf!" G answered prompt.
"Very nice." Harriett replied pleased.
G looked at her.
The he bent over to her, put his left hand on her cheek and kissed her.
Harriett replied his kiss immediately, put her hand on his.
Gs lips were cool.
Slowly, firmly she caressed with her thumb over his skin.
"I am sorry about what happened in there ... for you!"
She looked at him.
G let his look wandering over her face.
His pretty blue eyes were still reddened and his face pale, he seemed to be taken aback horribly.
She wasn't familiar with something getting so close to him!
G dropped his eyes for a moment, Harriett watched him swallowing heavy.
As he looked to her again, his eyes were shimmering.
"Alina was ... the daughter of one of the foster familys I was in. She was four years old then. The taught me to speak russian!"
Harriett had to swallow for a moment.
Regarding to G, these were a lot of informations he gave to her.
Again a small step forward for him, but unfortunately under very painful circumstances.
She squeezed his hand softly.
"Thank you, G! I am very sorry to hear this. Above all ... it's just not looking like a mugging!"
"It was an execution!" G meant harsh.
He withdraw his hand from hers and turned to the steering wheel, fastened the seat belt.
It occurred to Harriett like working out for himself now, to commit so much to someone.
Before going on!
"Should I drive?" she asked, taking trouble to keep her voice soft.
"I'm fine!" G replied, steering the car onto the street without looking at her.
Harriett nodded slightly.
They kept quiet on the way to the haven.
In his car there were just one CD with just one song, 'Normal man' by Duff Dugan.
Hariett did not know, where G got it from, but he played it every time they were on the road.
But she could understand perfectly, him recognizing in the lines:
"Wish I was normal man, a normal life and simple plan.
A normal home in a normal street, with normal thoughts and normal needs.|"
But today it was norrowing her throat, hearing those lines.
It came painfully to her mind once more, how lost he must feel.
G seem to be lost in his thoughts.
Harriett noticed it by looking at him from the side.
She took trouble doing this not so often.
Tenderly she layed her hand on his thigh.
G let this happen.
Without a word.
As they arrived at the haven and had parked the car, he went out, went round the car and opened the door for her.
Harriett went out, G slammed the door behind her und went to the trunk, took their bagage.
It still was very warm.
The breeze from the water was pleasant.
She liked beeing here, the smell of water, salt, fish, wet wood, she was looking forward to the weekend with G, despite the unpleasant incidents.
Hopefully they could stay undisturbed and had not to leave the boat-shelf when the team got on duty surprisingly.
A little rest would do good for G.
Marty Deeks invited them for his birthday tomorrow.
They didn't agree coming already, but Harriett would try to go there with G, at least for one, two hours, as a distruction for him.
Perhaps the familiar company would do him good, too, as soon he had coped with things a little.
The easy usual rocking of the floor from the boat-shelf was getting her a little closer to a relaxing weekend-feeling.
G opened the door and let her go ahead.
It was bright here inside, open.
Harriett liked the picked up furniture, the maritime ambience, remembering the undisturbed hours, she had spend with G here already.
She was looking forward for some more.
G put down their bags on the floor beside the door.
„Also like a coffee?“ he asked her.
„Yes. Would be nice!“
As always, when they got here, she opened the windows here in the living room half.
Fresh summer air came in, Harriett felt the salt in it tickling her nose immediately.
Happy voices came from over the pier, somewhere a sirene of a ship was hooting.
The coffee machine begann to bubble after G switched it on.
She heard his heavy footsteps on the wooden floor, he stopped beside her.
„I'll take a shower!“
His eyes were resting on her face.
He seemed to be a little calmed down.
Harriett instinctively reached out her left hand, to the upper button of his shirt, pushed it softly back to its hole.
„It's okay. I can't get use to this shirt.“
G looked down on himself, like experimenting what he was wearing actually.
He didn't make a point of what he was wearing, he wasn't vain.
Harriett liked it.
He usually was looking georgious wearing one of his long-sleeves to his jeans, preferably a blue one, matching the colour of his eyes.
„What about this shirt?“
„The pattern's to twitchy for you, you should be wearing plain shirts, preferably blue!“ she replied softly, caressing with her hand to the second button, opening it.
On purpose she let her forefinger touching his skin.
G was smiling a little bit.
He let it happen, she could even feel him enjoying it.
„It doesn't matter what I'm wearing!“
Harriett felt, that he wanted to provoce her a little bit.
Probably he was using this to cut down the stress of the afternoon.
She didn't care.
She could handle it.
Deliberately she went on with her finger caressing down, opening button number three, pushing her fingertips on his warm skin.
„Yes, you're right! You're looking good in everything!“
He put his hand on hers, lent forward to her and kissed her, tender, devoted.
Then he was squeezing her hand a little bit, gave her a smile and turned around, got upstairs.
Harriett went to their bags, took out the laundry and took it to the washing machine in the next room, filled it, switched it on.
Small matters of courses of every day were a problem sometimes.
Like doing the laundry or if she was in need of papers.
By now she was familiar with washing in a launderette.
As she was in need of her next to last certificate of her earnings, burried deep in a folder in the next to last box in the storage room, she got a tantrum.
Luckily here was a tumble-dryer, too.
Harriett returned to the living room and listened upstairs.
She didn't hear the shower.
But she heard the TV.
So she poured coffee in two mugs and balanced them up the wooden stairway.
There was a small sleeping room here, just under the roof, with a joining, very nice fully developed bathroom.
Harriett enjoyed every evening she was allowed to spend here with G, feeling the tender rocking of the waves and watching the bright stars through the small window.
G was sitting at the edge of the bed, a cushion in his back, lent against the high bed-head.
He was watching the news.
Harriett handed a mug to him and went, because it appealed to her, around the bed, slipped over the big mattrass to G and lent a little bit against him.
G reached out his arm and put it around her shoulders.
„Any idea for our dinner?“ she asked him as the commercials begann.
G took a sip of his coffee before putting the mug down on the bedside table.
„I'll get a takeaway later, should I?“
Harriett shrugged her shoulders.
„Sounds good, habibi!“
She felt him stop short.
He pulled her against him, so that he could look at her.
„Since when you could speak arabic?“
„I could not! But I know someone, who could!“ she answered.
„Don't tell me, you asked Sam!“ G replied.
His voice sounded like it was a big mistake to make.
„No, don't worry! It wasn't Sam!“
„Hetty?“ G went on asking and sounded much more distrustful.
Harriett couldn't help laughing.
„No, even not Hetty!“
G took trouble to look demanding.
It didn't work out for him very well.
„You know, I know ways and means to make you talk!“
Harriett had to laugh much more.
„Oh G, you know perfectly well, you've got ways and means to make me so much more!“
G laughed softly.
Harriett looked at him while tenderly letting her forefinger stroking down his chest, in a line.
G lent his head back against the bed-head, closing his eyes a little bit.
For a long moment he enjoyed the endearment.
The he opened his eyes again and looked at her.
„Do you know if anyone has claimed Alinas body?“
Harriett had to swallow for a moment.
She has been very far away with her thoughts.
Also she felt irritated about the professional phrase „claimed the body“, it was just bureaucratese within the coroners office.
G speaking like this about one of the few people ever had been near to him, makes her realize, how much he was fighting for distance.
„Ehm … no, as far as I know, no one has!“
She looked at him.
„I assume her parents are dead, too!“ G went on.
„I consider to take care of the funeral if nobody will!“
Harriett had to clear her throat before speaking.
„She was important to you, wasn't she?“
G nodded slowly.
„Yes. I was with her family for three month, it was the longest time, I spend with a foster family! Most familys I just was a few days with! Or just a few hours!“
Hariett gasped, tried to do it silent, but she was consious G feeling it because she was laying on his belly.
Within seconds she felt her cheeks burn.
This once more was one of what she called „a holy situation“, this very precious moments, G talking about himself.
So much she felt honoured with his growing trust in her, so much more fear she felt for learning things about him.
She even couldn't explain, why she was afraid.
She could not imagine that there was something in his past, which could make her love him no more.
After all, she loved him here and now, the person he was now, and not for something in his past.
„Earlier, with us, seeing Alina, you've said something in a foreign language!
It sounded … very nice! Maybe you like to tell me, what you've said?“
She looked up to him, taking trouble to keep the expression of her face neutral, to reassure him, that this wouldn't be a problem between them if he would like to keep it secret for himself.
But G repeated it.
Again for Harriettes ears it sounded very strange and hard.
„My little sister.“ G went on.
His face was very serious.
Harriett felt his left hand heavy on her shoulder.
„And she always called me 'her big brother'! I was fourteen then!“
Harriett felt horror for seconds.
Her throat seemed to be very narrowed.
„Did she never call you … with your real name? How did her parents call you?“
Gs eyes slipped from her face, to a loose point behind her in the room.
Suddenly his eyes seemed empty.
„I don't know! They also called me G! I think ... they didn't know my real name either!“
The expression of his face turned distraught, he looked at her, his eyes slipping over her face, like checking, if she had noticed.
Probably he remembered more than he wanted!
Slowly she put her arms around him, lent his head on his shoulder, cuddled up to him.
Beneath the rough cloth of his shirt she could feel his heartbeat, strong, regular.
Gs right hand stroked softly over her back.
He bowed his head, she felt his warm breath on her hair, his careful kiss.
She put up her head and looked at him.
Slowly she stroked with her left hand over his side.
„How did you find out today? With Alina?“
Again his eyes slipped for seconds to the wall on the opposite.
Then he grabbed the mug on his bedside table, took a sip, put it back.
He looked at her, crossed his armes on her back.
Harriett carefully slipped a little up in his embrace, went on with stroking his side with her hand.
First believing he did not want to tell her, so she learned after him beginning to speak, that it was more a matter of being not-allowed-to.
„It's this man here in Los Angeles … he's russian. I know him … from my past! Sam and me payed him a visite today to ask him about the woman. I did not know it was Alina by then! I did not recognise her!“
He went silent.
Harriett felt him breathing heavily against her arm.
She slipped a little more higher, put her left hand tenderly on Gs cheek, strechted her head to his and put a soft kiss on his lips.
G kept very still for a long moment before Harriett felt his hand tenderly stroking to her neck, before he began, to reply to her kiss.
„You must have felt there very comfortably staying so long with Alina and her parents!“ she wisphered to him as they both were a little breathless, looked at him.
Gentle she stroked with her hand over his short hair.
„It was a good time for me, yes!“ G replied in a low voice.
Harriett felt, the way, he nestled up to her, that the memory in his head still must be very alive.
„It's very kind that you will take care of the funeral!“
„Do you come with me tomorrow to the funeral home?“ G asked.
His voice sounded a bit rough, but unmistakingly soft.
„Of course!“ she answered him quickly.
In no way she would have go him through this alone!
He turned his head and put a small kiss on her fingers.
Harriett was use to wake up without G, even if she fall asleep beside him.
She already was use to it even here in the boat-shelf.
However she had to, by opening her eyes, to look about, where she was actually.
'Boat-shelf' she noticed very quickly now.
And the empty place on the mattress beside her.
There were voices from below.
After a moment Harriett put away the blanket, padded barefoot through the room and down the stairs.
In the living room the lights were on.
Gs bag was on the table.
His laptop stood beside.
Gs mobile phone was laying on the table beside an opened can of beer, G was sitting in front of his laptop, with his back to her, and was typing on the keyboard after a voice from the laptop had said something to him.
After hearing her footsteps on the stairs he turned around.
„Did I wake you up?“
„No.“ Harriett answered quickly.
While going to him she saw him pressing a button on the keyboard.
The voice went silent.
She stopped beside him, caressed with his hand over his shoulder.
She did not want to, but she couldn't forebear herself to question:
„Did you sleep a little bit?“
G grabbed her hand, pulled it to his lips and placed a kiss on it.
Harriett quickly looked at him, searching.
He seemed calm, rested, it really looks like as he has slept, at least for a while.
She looked to the clock on the wall.
It was 3.20.
„I'm gonna make me a tea!“
Carefully she pulled her hand out of Gs, went to the cupboard, put some water in the electric kettle and searched through the different tea bags.
She looked at him over her shoulder.
„Would you like to tell me … how your every day-life was? With Alinas family?“
She heard G exhale, deeply.
The water in the kettle begann to bubble.
Then the kettle switched itself out with a hard metalic clicking.
Harriett grabbed it and poured the steaming, bubbling hot water over the tea bag in the high coloured cup.
„In the mornings we were at school!“ G finally meant.
Harriett heard him laugh.
She took her cup, turned around the table, put her arm around Gs neck und sat herself carefully on his tigh.
G let it happen, layed his arm around her waist.
„It was the longest time I've been on the same school. Alina was at the kindergarten. In the afternoons we played together an Alina tought me some words in russian. I helped her with her homework. Alina was … „
Gs voice became hoarse, broke for a moment.
Harriett looked at him.
His look went beside her.
He cleared his voice, unknowingly.
„You don't have to tell me if you don't want to!“ she whispered softly to him,
caressing with her hand gently over the short hair on the back of his head.
Carefully she bowed over to him and touched with her lips emphatic, gentle his temple.
Just a little bit she could taste the salt of his sweat on her lips.
G did not hear or he did not want to.
„Alina was there when I was shot! I saw her! But I did not recognise her! Arkady told me today, that she was there!“
Harriett felt immediately icecold.
So cold, she was shivering!
Gs breathing was heavy.
„Alina! She was there when I was shot!“
G looked at her.
His memory seemed to be very vital for him, for a long monent his eyes were dull.
Small drops of sweat standing on his upper lip between the dark hairs of his beard.
Harriett noticed the dark patch of sweat at the collar of his grey shirt, the heat, descending from his body.
„She was at the side of the street and smiled for me! I didn't recognise her! I haven't seen her for twentysix years!“
Harriett still felt shocked.
She did not know what to say.
This was one of the situations she was afraid of, she hated it, something, she would like to react to, but she did not know, how!
Softly she caressed with her hand over his neck.
„How could you recognise her when you have not seen her for so long? People are changing, especially over such a long range! She was a little girl, just four years old! Some things are bound to happen!“
G exhaled deeply.
He sank his head for a long moment.
As he looked at her again the expression of his face was very serious.
Harriett did not avoid his look.
Carefully she put her right hand on his cheek, softly caressing it.
„What happend to you then?“
She only could whisper.
G again exhaled deeply.
He grabbed to the can on the table, drank from it before putting it back.
His eyes searched for her.
Harriett did not avoid his blue eyes.
She was not sure if she really wanted to know.
But in fact it would be good for G to talk about.
Probably he hadn't spoken about it with a lot of people.
„We just had a case closed … „ G again cleared his throat before he went on speaking, just one more sign of how much emotions he went through.
„ … Gibbs and McGee were already on their way back to Washington … „
„Please excuse me, darling!“
Harriett slipped her forefinger carefully onto his lips.
G went silent immediately and looked at her asking.
„Who are Gibbs and McGee?“
„Collegues from Washington, from the NCIS there!“ G answered her patiently after kissing her finger.
Despite that he needed a moment to find back to his story.
„They've been here because a case from Washington came across with one of ours! Sam drove me home after we left the office, Ocean Drive, where I was living then! I went to my appartement and I saw Alina. She smiled at me, I've seen her before around, but I misunderstood her searching my attention! Then I heard Sam calling my name! I don't remember much more!“
He grimaced and looked at her, in a mixture of helpless and confused, something, Harriett hardly know from him.
Not just his body was hurt.
Obviously he couldn't cope with beeing shot, one of the best agents of the NCIS, trained and nearly prepared for anything!
He was vulnerable, like all other people!
She struggled for a tender smile for him, even if her throat was very narrow.
Carefully she caressed with her thumb over the stubbles of his beard.
„I've read the hospital file in your record. It's good, that you don't remember much more! I think, the memories you still have about what happened after are bad enough!“
He seemed very distant.
So as if there was a really gap to the time then, as if it wasn't affecting him!
„First thing I remember is … Hetty sitting by my bedside!“ he went on, with a low voice, he turned his head and kissed the palm of her hand.
„Then Sam arrived …
Harriett had to smile.
She still felt cold.
And she felt shaken, just after hearing what happened to G, without –
luckily! – having been there!
But she also felt, Gs ignorance kind of coping with it, affected her, it was not good for him, not to deal with it!
G looked at her.
He pulled her close and kissed her.
Harriett replied his kiss.
His lips were cool, tasting, like his breath, like beer.
„You remembered this today very clearly as … Arky? … told you that the dead woman was Alina, hm?“
She looked at him closely.
G let his head sank for a while, then looked at her again.
The little smile on his face was fading.
The touch of his hand on her cheek was warm und gentle.
„You know, we're not allowed to speak about this?“
Harriett caressed with her thumb over his cheek.
„We're not allowed to speak about what happened to you?“ she demanded.
She wanted to put it in very different words.
But she wanted to avoid the expressions „past“ and „birth“.
G shook his head slightly.
„No. You know, I usually don't talk with you about my work! This is an exception and we both keep it this way, okay?“
He tenderly put his hand under her chinn and forced her to look at him.
Harriett took trouble, to keep seriously, as long as possible.
She just could handle it for a few seconds.
„Otherwise you got means and ways … ?“
„Not me! Hetty!“