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Momentary Lapse

by: taylorgibbs (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1481
Rating: YTEEN
Warning(s): Character Death
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Other Female Character, Shannon Gibbs
Category(ies): Angst/Drama
Pairing(s): Gibbs/OFC
Episode(s): 3-24 Hiatus (2)
Summary: When Gibbs learns his family was injured and nearly killed, his concentration is fractured. In a warzone, that can be deadly. AU, Major character death.

Author Notes: Thanks to Anna for the beta. Warning, death of a major character. Written for the NFA The Death of _______

Chapters: 1

Momentary Lapse

“Jethro? Jethro? Are you there? I didn’t want to bother you with this, but they insisted.”

Gibbs listened to the fear in his wife’s voice and a rush of icy cold dread ran through him. He’d never heard that sound in Shannon’s voice before. It was terror much worse than when Kelly’d had an unexplained fever, or when she’d been missing in a store for eighty-three minutes.

And Gibbs knew it had to be huge for her to call him here in Kuwait. She never bothered him about the small things when he was deployed. It was the way of a military wife, and she’d always played that role perfectly.

“Who insisted?” Gibbs said, trying to send assurance over thousands of miles. He was getting very worried, a part of him not wanting to know, another part needing the answers before his imagination filled in the blanks.

“The Naval Investigative Service agent.”

“The what?” Gibbs asked, not sure if he’d heard her right. Why would NIS be involved? “You two okay, Shan?”

The idea that his wife and daughter could have stumbled into a robbery or something sent that gush of ice right back into his gut and he gulped in dry air, trying not to cough at the grit of sand in the air.

“God, Jethro…” There was a waver in her voice now.

“Shannon!” Time was of the essence here; communications weren’t easy to come by. “What happened?” Gibbs asked, straining to hear anything he could decipher, both in her voice and in the surrounding area. There were voices, a tinny paging sound. Hospital? Were they in a hospital?

“Shannon?” he asked, his voice a little unsteady.

“We’ll be okay. There was an…incident and I…”

“You what?”

He could hear her pull in a shuddery gasp. “I saw someone get murdered and NIS put Kelly and me under protective custody. It was drugs, Jethro…and… Oh, God. When the agent was driving us today, he was shot…”

Gibbs’ stomach made one flip and he lunged for a trashcan in case he threw up. “Kelly?” he managed. “What’s going on, Shannon?” There was a brittle edge in his voice now.

“Don’t…it’s not that, Jethro. The driver was shot and killed instantly and the van…we crashed. We were both hurt, Kelly more than me. She’s in recovery now…she was bleeding internally. They had to take out her spleen, but she should be okay. She’s got a broken leg, some broken ribs, a bad concussion, and the bleeding, but we’re okay, Jethro. Kelly’s going to be okay.”

“You?” he managed to choke out through the red haze of fury covering his field of vision.

“I’m okay. Broken wrist and I’ve damaged my back. NIS is going to be with us twenty-four, seven. I have two agents here with me now; they’ll be with me and Kelly every step of the way. Two more are coming and we’ll be under constant guard. Mike Franks and Tom Morrow are sitting with us. Jethro, they’re good competent men and they’re going to keep us safe. They’re going to move us around when Kelly is out of the hospital, until the trial.”

“You’re testifying?”

“Yes,” she said, her voice getting firmer. “Jethro, I have to. He killed an eighteen year old. Just a boy. Like those teens you work with who drive you crazy.” She let out a small noise of distress that made his stomach flip again.

He knew she had to testify and see this through. She wouldn’t be his wife if she cut and run. “Are you safe?” He didn’t mean just now, but during the trial and the aftermath.

“They’re keeping me safe,” she said, her voice solid now. “I have to go inside and sit with Kelly. If she wakes up alone, she’ll be terrified. I’ll let her know how much you love and miss her. I love you, Jethro. Be careful and you come back to us in one piece, safe and sound.”

“Be safe…” He cleared his throat, glad that they were being given what amounted to privacy. “I love you.”

“I love you more,” she whispered.

He stared at the walls of the tent for a few minutes before stepping back into the sun, rubbing a hand over his face. “You gonna be okay, Gunny?” his commanding officer asked as he snapped to attention. He’d forgotten himself there for a minute.

“At ease. Bad news there, Gunny?”

“Close call, Sir!”

The major stared Gibbs down for a few minutes. He knew Gibbs damned well and Gibbs could tell he was evaluating his service fitness. “You gonna be able to lead your men, Gunny?” he asked in a more gentle voice than Gibbs expected.

“Will be, Major.” Gibbs knew he had to get his head back in this. He was heading a team on a recon mission in less than two hours and he had to get focused.

“Get your head on and get out there,” Major Ryan said and Gibbs nodded. He really needed to work this out in physical exertion, but there just wasn’t time. He’d have to take the little time he had and do what he could to get the damned images of his injured little girl out of his head.

Before he went to meet with his team, Gibbs ran the perimeter of camp—twice. It was hot, sticky, and miserable in the desert heat, but it was the best thing he could do to clear his thoughts. With every pounding footfall, the fury toward some faceless dirtbag faded and the veil of red that had overtaken his field of vision diminished. For now. It was still there, boiling below the surface, but Gibbs knew he could get beyond it for his men.

He had to. Any lapse of concentration—no matter how short—could mean that the team would get captured or sniped. He’d never lost a man directly, and he wasn’t about to start now.

He geared up, checking his equipment twice, before joining his men. They were all so damned young and inexperienced, but they’d learned to work well together in the last three weeks. He nodded at the green-eyed smiling kid, and the scrawny brown-eyed one, before turning his attention to the short and stocky one. He always worried Gibbs, his expression uncertain, his pale blue eyes eyes wide under his helmet.

Gibbs laid out their objectives in a quick burst of sound, eyeing each of them to make sure they had mission objectives down pat. “Ready, men?”

“Ready, Gunny!” they chorused.

Gibbs had chosen to partner with the stocky kid. He trusted the other two, especially the tallest one, to get the job done without his supervision. As they headed out, crossing the border into Iraq, Gibbs’ gut started screaming. Something was gonna go down; he could feel it.

“Stay ready,” he told the PFC closest to him, signaling the others to be extra alert. The night was utterly silent, but there was some hidden danger just below the surface that had the hairs on Gibbs’ neck rising.

He swallowed hard. Maybe he was being silly. It could be the lingering adrenaline rush due to Shannon and Kelly. He gulped, closing his eyes for a second. Kelly’d made it through surgery, but that was all he knew.

“Gunny? There’s something in the sand here… I think I’m in trouble…”

The PFC’s voice came to him and shook him out of his thoughts with a jolt. The young man sounded uncertain and panicked.

“Don’t move!” Gibbs called out in a low but authoritative voice, but the kid was starting to shift his weight minutely, the panic taking over. If it was a mine...

“Stay there! Don’t move! Don’t move!” His voice was more plea than order now. He locked on those big eyes as he considered how to get his man free. “Settle down, Burrows…it’ll be okay. Just don’t move and it’ll be okay!”

The other two men had moved closer now, the cocky one rummaging through his pack much as Gibbs was. “We have to get him free, Gunny,” he said, his voice determined as he focused on the man a few yards away.

“We will,” Gibbs assured. His mind flashed to a bloodied van again, the images overwhelming him. He shook his head and set his jaw again, focusing on…

The cocky PFC had taken advantage of Gibbs’ break in concentration to make his own move. As he leaped toward Burrows, Burrows shifted and…

“DINOZZO!” Gibbs yelled, shielding himself helplessly as his two men were killed instantly.

Chapters: 1

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