Jo Danville sighed deeply; she barely felt the cold New York air which had made slight gooseflesh rise upon her arms. As usual, she hadn't bothered to wear any sort of jacket –– this despite the fact she was sitting alone on the balustrade of the balcony of her condo long past midnight. It looked slightly dangerous. It looked more than a little bit worrisome if you saw the tears gathered in hazel eyes, the beer in her hand. It looked worrisome enough to Ellie when she saw her like that.
Jo turned to face her adopted daughter with a small smile lingering upon her lips –– Ellie's footsteps upon the floor had reached Jo's ears seconds earlier already. "What are you doing awake so late, honey?" she wondered, voice soft as ever and a discernible trace of concern readable enough in her eyes.
"What are you then?" Ellie returned, "and why are you sitting on there? Isn't that dangerous?"
"If I didn't know what I were doing then maybe," Jo replied, yet she lowered both feet and tilted her head to reduce Ellie's obvious panic. "This better?" she asked.
"What's going on, Mom? You've been crying?"
Jo's hand intuitively reached for her cheeks; she wiped at them and felt the wetness her tears had left behind. She tried to smile wider. "I'm fine," she whispered and spread one arm to invite her fourteen-year-old adopted daughter for a hug. A small smile flashed upon Ellie's face before she stepped over to her and wrapped her arms about Jo's waist, head dropping in the crook of her neck. She wasn't really a little girl anymore, Jo realized –– it sometimes saddened her, because it definitely did remind her of her own age at those moments.
She sighed, the sound muffled by dark curls. It were times like these when Jo Danville, Assistant Supervisor of the New York Crime Lab, only truly realized how soon life could end, which was curious given she worked with death basically each day. Of course, there were always cases that stayed on the woman's mind longer than others. There were cases that hit closer to home for her, especially when children were involved in it. However, it had definitely been... more intense really to nearly lose Mac, to hear she could lose Sid. Jo's mind ran further then, you see. It didn't stop with thoughts of life and how soon it could end; it made her wonder whether she had really done enough if she died the next day –– much like Sid seemed to wish to know. She wondered whether she had really loved enough, had made enough change.
Professionally, Jo Danville had helped to solve lots of crimes both at the FBI and the Crime Lab. She had locked away many criminals and given more families and loved ones answers.
If you looked at the woman underneath, though, she was a single mom who hadn't succeeded to keep her marriage with the father of her son together and was doing the very best she could at raising the girl in her arms. She didn't believe she (and Russ) had done a bad job with Tyler at all. She was proud enough of who he had become, and she was rather proud of Ellie, too. She knew that she didn't have as much time for her as most moms did for their children, though. That's what made Jo wonder sometimes whether she was a good enough mom to her; whether she was to Tyler still despite the fact that he was a young man now. Mostly Ellie, though.
Jo's lips dropped to the dark curls that tickled her neck. "I love you," she whispered, only just loud enough.
At that, Ellie retracted a little bit and looked into her mom's hazel eyes. She carefully captured a stray lock of dark brown, twirling it around her finger –– a lot like she used to when she was a little girl and obsessed with Jo's longer hair. She hadn't liked it when her mom had come home with it ten inches shorter one day when she had been about six. Both of them smiled, thoughts somehow having gone straight to those same old memories shared between mother and her adopted daughter.
"Mom, why were you crying?"
A sigh eschewed from Jo's lips as her smile faltered. She pondered over what to tell her. Obviously, she couldn't just forego Sid's request for her confidence, even to her daughter, even though she voted for all honestly between them from both sides. It had been that way since forever –– after all, it wouldn't be fair to ask honesty from Ellie if she didn't reciprocate. "I've just... had a tough day," she whispered and smiled slightly.
"Well, but you never cry after a tough case."
A small laugh escaped her then. Ellie wasn't easily fooled at all... Jo believed it was a form of payback from when she was a little girl and her mom had always just somehow sensed it when she had been naughty. It must definitely be. "This one just really stayed with me," she replied in all honesty.
Ellie sensed she wouldn't get any more than that. "I love you, too," the teenager whispered then let her head drop into the crook of Jo's neck again. "Mom, you're a truly great person."
"Oh, darling..." Jo whispered. She could have cried at that once more –– she always just seemed to know what to say, somehow especially at those times when Jo needed to hear the most. There were no words for how much she loved this child, her child... her daughter. "You're biased, though," she said when she was sure her voice wouldn't betray her.
"Maybe, but that doesn't mean that I'm mistaken..."
"You're too witty for your own good."
"I've learned from the best."
Summary: Set after 9.11 Command P. Jo Danville is rational, very rational. Aside from all that, she's a confidante and a mother.