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The Weight of Water

by: Mindy (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1636
Rating: TEEN
Warning(s): Character Death
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo, Abby Sciuto, Timothy McGee
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Future
Pairing(s): - No Pairing -
Episode(s): 2-23 Twilight
Summary: Ten years after the death of Kate Todd her presence is still felt

Author Notes: This does NOT take into account any of the events of the third season.

Chapters: 1

Timothy McGee hasn’t been a probationary agent for many years, and Anthony DiNozzo knows it. But the nickname that he pinned on Tim when they first worked together has stuck, for better or worse.
In truth, these days, he doesn’t really mind. Tony greets him with a big smile and a warm handshake. They haven’t seen each other in a while.
One of the last times was at Kate Todd’s gravesite a month or so back – the anniversary of her death, ten years ago. They’d promised to have a drink together soon, but their work had intervened as usual.
They are both still with NCIS but their paths rarely cross now and McGee wishes they were meeting again under better circumstances.
“How you doin’?” Tony exclaims, as they duck under the façade of the NCIS HQ building and out of the pouring rain.
“I’m fine, Tony, fine,” replies McGee stiffly, adjusting the glasses he now wears permanently and stuffing his hands in the pockets if his trench.
“Is that Abby?” Tony asks, peering at the woman in McGee’s parked car.
Her head is bent, her still dyed-black hair, now cut short in the shape of a pixie, is distorted by the water on the window and Tony waves eagerly at her unseeing profile.
“Yeah, she’s a little upset,” says McGee, still trying to make up his mind how to deliver the news that he’s at present still reeling from himself.
For a moment, Tony stares at Abby in the car then, turning back, his eyes narrow sharply in a look that McGee recognizes as one of Gibbs’ trademarks.
Anthony DiNozzo is still the heartbreaker-type even now, but he looks increasingly like the boss they both worked under for the best years of their careers. His hair has touches of grey, his eyes and smile crinkle with lines.
“What’s goin’ on, McGee?” he asks quietly: “What are you doing here?”
“Ah…” McGee looks up at the threatening sky for a moment and then speaks slowly: “You heard from Gibbs recently?”
“Yeah,” Tony nods, brightening slightly: “He sent me an email last week. Finally finished that boat of his.”
“Yep,” nods McGee, remembering the email that he’d received as well. It had contained no words – just a picture of Gibbs with his completed boat. “Did you see the name?”
His friend sighs and squints at the cement underfoot. “Yeah,” he says dimly.
They stand in silence for a moment; Tony shivers and hugs his coat about him. The last time he’d seen Jethro Gibbs was at his retirement bash the month before. He’d nearly resigned ten years earlier over the whole Ari situation and the subsequent murder of their friend and colleague.
Kate Todd seemed to have been the glue that held them all together because after that, nothing had ever been the same again.
Gibbs had never been the same again. He’d spent ten more years at NCIS, and was named Special Agent of the Year another four times. He was still formidable, he was still successful, he was still the best they had. He still played by his own rules, he still recruited for himself from all over the place and trained scrupulously the brightest names in the agency.
And he still visited Kate Todd’s grave every year on the 24th of May.
But he never did find Ari Haswari. The man simply vanished. And after six years, he’d given up looking. Nothing he could do to the bastard could ever make up for what he’d taken.
The man who Tony shook the hand of at the low-key gathering was old and weary. He’d carried a glass of scotch around the room, speaking to the people he wanted to, the people he liked, and leaving before he had to speak to the rest, and before any one got drunk or made speeches.
“Whatcha gonna do with your time now, Boss?” he’d asked the older man, who he would forever think of as his boss, and the person who’d taught him the most, not just professionally.
Gibbs’ blue eyes had glinted briefly before he’d looked into his glass and mumbled: “Take Katie away.”
He hadn’t thought he’d heard right, especially since Gibbs hardly ever mentioned the name of the woman they’d all loved and lost. He’d just nodded and offered to refill his glass.
McGee takes a deep breath. “Listen, Tony,” he begins, steeling himself: “there’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to say it straight.”
Tony nods, worried, and waits: “Go ahead.”
“Gibbs took his boat out yesterday. For the first time,” McGee swallows and presses on tentatively: “The weather was bad – really bad and…” his voice trails off nervously, as he sees the look forming in Tony’s eyes.
He watches as Tony slowly glances again at Abby in the car then turns back and takes a small step closer.
“Something happened,” he says lowly, not a question.
“Abby got a call this morning,” McGee goes on, remembering the look on his wife’s face when she’d got the news: “She’s listed as his next of kin and they needed someone-- someone to--”
Tony grimaces. “Identify the body,” he finishes sinkingly.
McGee nods slowly, glad not to have to say the exact words. Tony sighs deeply, reaching out to put a hand on his shoulder, clasping tightly. His other hand runs over his face, smoothing out lines of terrible disbelief.
“She okay?” he whispers, peering at McGee’s face and glancing at Abby’s misty form.
McGee nods and sighs: “No. Not really. You know how close they were.”
“Yeah…God,” he gasps: “….poor Abs.”
They stand in silence for a long moment, and McGee thinks that if he hadn’t seen the body for himself, he would never have believed it. It still hasn’t hit him, he thinks. It’s going to take a while for it to sink into their reality.
Gibbs was such a larger than life figure to all of them and McGee had always assumed that he would outlive them all. His mortality was shocking.
He can still hear his voice when he’d congratulated him on his promotion at the celebration for his retirement. They’d kept in infrequent contact over the years and McGee counted himself as one of the few lucky people that possessed his unswerving respect and true friendship.
He’d gone to his former mentor on more than one occasion for help with a case, and Gibbs had always, without handing him the answer, helped him find his own solution.
On that night he’d given the man who had taught him all he knew, an old manuscript that he’d found during a recent shift of office.
“What is this, McGee?” Gibbs had asked incredulously.
“‘The Continuing Adventures of L.J.Tibbs’,” he’d shrugged offhandedly.
Thinking back on his early days under Gibbs’ command, he’d been both terrified and fascinated by the character of his boss and had spent his spare time writing about him and the world he inhabited.
He’d had a good laugh reading back over his youthful drivel recounting predictable investigations and an unorthodox pack of investigators whose repartee seemed to outweigh any real plotline.
He particularly liked revisiting the character he’d named Cathy Taylor; the brilliant and feisty but compassionate female sidekick who always had the smartest comeback and the softest eyes.
The book was unfinished; he hadn’t written a word after Kate Todd had been shot – but he took the risk of thinking that Gibbs might like to revisit these days as well -- and also have a good chuckle at his writing technique, or lack thereof.
“I’ll take it with me,” Gibbs had nodded.
“Where are you going?” McGee had asked.
Gibbs had shrugged: “Not sure yet…Away.”
Tony gulps and remarks warily: “Why would Gibbs take her out in such foul weather?”
McGee shakes his head at the wet cement and fingers his glasses again; he’d asked himself the same question. The investigator’s minds that Gibbs had cultivated in them both couldn’t help but notice the glaring inconsistency, but he hadn’t wished to mention it to Abby, upset as she already was. They all knew, though, how good a sailor he was, and of his enormous respect for the sea.
“I don’t know,” is all he can answer.
“You told Ducky yet?”
“Not yet,” he replies and turns to see his wife open the car door and step out into the driving rain.
She stands for a moment, leaning against the car, and looking at Tony. Tony starts towards her immediately and McGee watches as Abby runs across the parking lot and throws herself into her friend’s arms.
He can see from a distance how she is sobbing and how tightly Tony is holding her, as the heavens growl above them and saturate them in the chilly downpour.
He can see she still grasps in her hand what she’d been staring fixedly at in the car; a picture of their old boss which she’d had sitting on her desk for less than a week. It sags and runs under the weight of the water.
In it, Gibbs wears jeans, a green jacket and a half-smile. His eyes are blue and sad and proud and dark. His hair is pure white and his body still solid. He stands with one hand on the helm of a small, strong, beautiful boat – his pride and joy.
And the name painted proudly there in bright, brilliant blue says ‘Katie’.

Chapters: 1

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