Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 4043
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Hurt/Comfort
Pairing(s): - No Pairing -
Summary: He endured nearly the same faith and that was enough to convince the man that suicide was not a solution to his problems but only surrender and the permission that cruelty and evil take over the world power.
Author Notes: Dedicated to the best friend I ever had and ever will have, Mara, who encouraged me to write a Gibbs-Angst. I had my doubts if I wrote Gibbs' character right cause I never spent too much time looking too deep into his soul, but I'm proud that it turned out the way it did. And it is not even as out of character as I feared at the beginning.
Sadly I'm no writer for the show NCIS so Gibbs is in no way mine. Vincent completely arose from my weird mind. If someone wants to borrow him, he has to credit me or he/she has to bother with me. So you better keep your hands off him ;)
Thanks to Mara for borrowing me her dog for the story ;)
The End Is Not Near
Life always takes a turn to the worse when it’s as perfect as it can be.
Almost is more than enough to be happy. Almost is a close to living a perfect, fulfilled life as possible. Nobody can live a perfectly perfect life. And nobody wants to live such a perfectly perfect life where everything is right the way it should be, right?
Yeah, well… I guess there is no such thing like a perfect life. Everyone pictures a perfect life in another way, because we are all individuals and individuals usually aren’t all the same. But a rough concept would probably look like this: A life that is planned through and through but still has enough spontaneity in it. You have understanding parents, who encourage you whenever you need it, friends who aren’t jealous, an A in all classes in school, access to the university of your desire and to a well-paid job. You have enough money to buy everything you want and you have the nicest kids once you’re grown-up…
I could go on like that cause I really had the time to think about things like that, but I won’t. It will probably just bore you out of your mind and I don’t want to be responsible if you die of boredom. And really… it’s mind-cracking to know what you could loose when you have everything you need and want for a living.
And still… there are more than enough people on earth who don’t have anything to loose, so they rather do themselves in thinking that’s the only solution to their problems than thinking about what they have left that is actually worth living for. And believe me when I say there is more than enough that is worth living for. Things you might not even see when you don’t look close enough.
Sometimes a smile is so damn precious that it stops you from the idea of killing yourself. Sometimes it’s a letter. Or it’s a plain white rose that someone endows you as a sign of a friendship that last longer than both of you ever thought. And sometimes it’s an animal that you love and simply can’t leave behind or give up on, because you love it and it loves you and is more loyal than a human could ever be.
At least that’s what it was with me. I had been playing with the thought of giving myself the last shot five years ago. But it didn’t work out cause there was my dog – a wonderful crossbreed that looks so fair and beautiful and when he tilts his head that’s so gorgeous I can’t stop cuddling him over and over again. Because I can’t leave him behind I simply couldn’t do it and I rather choose to live on the streets with him instead of leaving him alone to that cruel world.
And it’s not that my lovely dog is the only thing that kept me alive. My parents died when I was eleven and it was the biggest shock to hear that they had been in an accident and didn’t even make it to the hospital. I loved them and I still love them. Even though they are dead there are so many memories I have of a fulfilled childhood where everything seemed the way it should.
Of course, there were little fights over things like me being late or not doing my homework or not tidying up my room but what’s that compared to the wonderful moments I had with them when we were out on a family picnic playing ball on the grass. Or to moments when my football team won the junior championships of Virginia. These are things that are more important and make you feel alive and happy and satisfied.
So yeah, okay. I live on the streets but I’m happy with it cause I have all those memories and I have pictures of my parents and me and we look happy on them. We are smiling and laughing and hugging and loving each other, so even if they don’t live anymore they are still there somehow. Not only on the pictures but in my heart too and that’s what counts.
Still there are way too many people who loose someone and give up on themselves. Every now and then I see someone standing on the edge of a roof, arms stretched out wide as if they want to fly. But they don’t want to fly, they want to die and if I can I really try to stop them. I’m not able to in all cases I try and I talk to them and finally they come down and thank me for the advice or something and go on to live their lives.
It’s interesting that some people give up on the idea of jumping or ending their lives in whatever way they intended to. But there are people of another kind too. They are caught too deep in their own shit, wallowing in self-pity as if the world just vanished and they are the last person left. Well, not all of them but they don’t want help rather risk to kill other people while they are doing it, too.
Anyway, the man I helped last was neither of the one nor of the other party and that’s kind of reassuring, although it took him some time to listen to me and actually believe me. He was one of those who didn’t want to rely to anyone he wasn’t related to pretty bad. And he didn’t know me so I totally understood his way of thinking.
I saw him in September 1992. I remember it clearly cause it was only a week before my seventeenth birthday. He walked along the road and sat down at one of the tables of a fast food restaurant I came to know pretty well. He looked like thirty something and his dark-brown hair, had already a few grey strands in it. The haircut actually looked much like that of a marine. And he had blue eyes. As blue as an ocean.
But his eyes weren’t only blue, they were blue, you know? He looked really, really sad and I knew in an instant that this man had lost something precious not too long ago and now played with the thought of ending his life as soon as possible. For some reason his appearance… the way he slumped in the chair at the table worried me more than anything.
He had given up already. He didn’t see a chance to get through whatever he had endured or still endured at that time. He already pictured himself stewing in hell for the his decision to commit suicide. I wasn’t quite sure how I could stop this man from anything. He looked like he had a pretty good reason for choosing death instead of life. But hey… I had been having a good enough reason either.
I patted my dogs head and headed towards his table, brazenly sitting down opposite him. He didn’t look like he’d care anyway, so why not take the opportunity? I was well aware what I must look like to a man who served the armed forces, with me living on the streets and all that. But I didn’t care.
At first he doesn’t even acknowledge me but when I folded my hands on the table in front of him he suddenly looked up and stared at me as if he wanted to bore right through me. My eyes didn’t leave his, though. I thought it was because of his blue eyes which truly kind of drew me in, but I realized that I must be having a pretty hard gaze since his isn’t bad, either.
His eyes were amazing, really. They were beautiful and even though they were steel I saw something else in there. There was sadness. And it wasn’t pure sadness, it was mixed with something else, too. It was desperation and pain and grief and guilt. The same feelings I had when my parents died those five years ago.
I eventually know that something has gone terribly wrong in this man’s life and he apparently can’t deal with it properly. Otherwise he wouldn’t want to commit suicide wouldn’t he?
I watch him a while longer only to realize that he checked out my whole experience and clothes and all., but there is no sign of disgust on his face and that reassures me, cause I really can’t stand people judging someone because he looks like he just crawled out of the gutter.
It took the man a while to realize that I won’t back off anymore and after a few minutes of simply sitting there and staring at each other he sighed and tore his eyes of me. The he speaks, his voice rough and a little unkind but I understood it’s the way he always talks to strangers – and probably other people, too.
“What do you want?”
I made out defeat in his question and wondered if that man was really that resolute that he couldn’t even stand up to someone half his age anymore. It was saddening since I wanted to help him and knew that it would be quite hard if that really was the case. Shaking off the thoughts I answered him, smiling slightly. “I don’t know. What do you want?”
A smirk played across my lips when his eyes narrowed and a small frown appeared on his forehead. It looked somewhat cute and it took me quite some effort not to giggle at the sight. I didn’t want to piss him off or get him to shoo me away from his table. I extend my hand instead. “My name is Vincent. And this is my dog, Diego.”
He nodded absently, his eyes only grazing my dog for a second or so before he turns to watch the distance. He also dismissed my hand, just like expected him to. But I don’t take it amiss. If I were him I wouldn’t shake my hand, either. But I’m sure that this had nothing to do with the fact that I was homeless. Blue eyes was pretty much what I would call a loyal man.
Half a minute later he once again looked at me, noticing that my hands now rested on my lap. “And you are telling me this because…?”, he asked. His voice betrayed him and I could hear that he wasn’t quite interested in an answer. I on the other hand wanted to give him one, no matter if he liked it or not.
“Something bothers you”, I started, tilting my head ever so slightly to get a closer look at his face. “You are about to do something that you will miserably regret. I just don’t want that to happen.” My answer was somewhat unbelievable but it was the truth and he knew it just like I did.
Still, he seemed not quite convinced. He obviously thought I was playing a mean joke on him. His angry tone told me that. “And you know that how?” He was being sarcastic about the whole thing and for some reason that disappointed me. But I didn’t show it. I knew that I would convince him sooner or later. Everything takes time and so did this.
“Look, kid… You don’t even know me s there is no way you know about anything that is going on in my head. That would be considerably odd.” He shook his head in denial. “Even if I’m going to do something that I might regret later I don’t see why this is any business of yours. Better go on doing whatever you where about to do and leave me the hell alone.”
Everyone else might have been gone by now for he wouldn’t have been having something to counter, but I wasn’t one to give up. Normally I was able to get anything done I wanted and this wasn’t going to be an exception. So I scratched my nose and smirked while I retorted.
“Let me get this clear. I’m exactly where I want to be and I’m exactly doing what I want to do. I just want to help you and I won’t stop before I reached my goal, okay?” I studied him noticing the growing frustration in his already confused face. “If you tell me to piss off just go on. You are stuck with me as long as it takes to get you to giving up on that idea of doing yourself in.”
He gasped and he suddenly looked defeated. He didn’t want to fight me, I saw that, but he was stunned at the words I threw at him so I apparently hit the mark. And I was just about to let him know that. “I understand I hit the bullseye, huh?”
His mouth opened and closed as if he was some fish on dry ground and I almost laughed at the sight. But the situation was just too serious for amusement. Although I was convinced that laughing was the best medicine to cure broken hearts and the loss of beloved one’s. It just wasn’t appropriate at that moment, so I held it back.
It took him a while to get himself back under control, but after a few deep breaths he spoke again. This time his voice wasn’t nearly as grumpy. It was soft, filled with grief and pain and it nearly broke my heart, cause it reminded me too much of my own emotions when my parents died in that accident. But this wasn’t about me. It’s about this marine man. So I listened, holding back the tears that threaten to fall.
“I fought at the front in Desert Storm, even got a Silver Star for that. I had to leave my wife and my daughter behind. When I came back home, I’ve been told that they were killed in an assassination. My daughter, Kelly…She was just eight years old. Eight!” He stopped, getting himself back under control and ran his fingers through his short hair.
“The two of them were the only thing that I lived for. Everything I did, I did it for them. I don’t have anything that’s worth living for anymore. So yeah… you are right, I want to end my life and I think the death of the most precious people in my life is reason enough.”
Without even shedding a tear he stopped. He looked broken but somewhat the thought that he couldn’t even cry for them made it a shame. So he was a marine and probably learned to shut his heart down long time ago but I simply don’t get it. If your wife and daughter died you have to cry. You have to, right?
“No, it’s not.”
For a moment I didn’t say anything else. I just looked him straight in the eye and dare him if he tore his away from mine. I had to find a way to convince him of that and making him watch me seemed a good idea to stall for time. It didn’t really help but I realized that I would probably have to spill the beans about my faith if I wanted to force him into living.
His lips moved once again and I saw him struggling for the right words to approach me. It seemed hard for him and for a moment I thought he’d choke on what he wanted to say. I smiled at him, reassuring him into spitting it out and it worked. It obviously made it a lot easier for him.
“Uhm… Vincent, right?”, he asked and I nodded. “What do you want?” He looked around, not quite nervous but a bit unsure. He scratched the back of his head before he focussed on me once more. “I mean… Why are you trying to stop me from killing me? I’m sure this is a gesture of kindness but seriously, kid. Why do you think that you could change my opinion?”
He’s indeed confused about the whole situation and once again I couldn’t take it amiss. Lets face it, I’m not even seventeen and I live on the streets so people think I have problems over problems and can’t even take care of them. Otherwise I’d be living in a nice small apartment or with family or whatever and I would go to school and wear fashionable clothes.
And in fact, that’s the truth for most people living on the streets, but I don’t think of it as a bad thing. I have my ways of handling things other’s might think aren’t fixable anymore when you already live in the open. But it makes people strong and it makes them realize what’s really important. Not money. And not a house, either. But people with money and an apartment at least use to think that and I’m kind of sorry for them, cause they really don’t know the true things in life.
I wanted him to know about those things, really and I knew he would listen when I told him, what he needed to know to think differently. He was cooperative and he would do anything that would help him dealing. I didn’t know it then, but I know it now and it makes me proud that I was able to change lives. Whole lifestyles even.
“Because I can”, is the first thing I say. “I saved a few lives already and I’m sure that I’ll safe yours all the same.” He raised an eyebrow, definitely not believing what I said, but I couldn’t concentrate on that right now. I had to get a few things straight first. “Listen to me and you’ll know what makes me think I could change your opinion. Maybe you might not be convinced that there are things worth living for, but I’ll show you that there are.”
I shifted in my chair, searching for the most comfortable position. I’m not used to sitting on chairs. I’m used to hard concrete and old benches and that’s a big difference to cushioned stools.
“My parents died when I was eleven. They were on their way to a football game of mine and a drunk driver hit them. It hurt like hell to loose them and everything I wanted was to jump from a bridge and end it. But Diego, my dog… he didn’t let me. I love him and I didn’t want to leave him behind. So it was either taking him with me or staying alive. I decided for the latter.”
I took a few breaths to get my feelings under control. It still ached to talk about their death and sometimes at night I silently cried for them. But I didn’t want to cry. Not before I finished with the story of my life. The story that should save another life, that was broken right now but could be fixed.
“I never wanted to do myself in ever again. I remind myself everyday that life is something we are granted and we should be thankful for it. There are so many things that are worth living for. I’m not talking about a job, money, a house or fame. I talk about small things, gestures… living creatures and humans.” I watched him to get a glimpse at how he took my words. He listened carefully, though his eyes remained sad and grieving.
But the appetite to self-injuring seemed to fade away. Slowly, but it still faded. And that comforted me profoundly. “I live on the streets and I’m sure you think that’s pitiful, but I live a beautiful life cause I take what I’ve been given. My dog, my endowment to save lives, my memories, my dreams… And the fact that I have the time to take in all the impressions that other people are blind for because they run from one appointment to another and forget about what life has to give us.”
When I was finished I felt drained but satisfied. The man had leant back and now watched the blue sky. He clearly thought about what I had told him and it made me happy. He weighted his options, obviously unsure what it was that he still had left. I was willing to show him if he wanted to.
“So… you didn’t… do it because of your dog? I don’t have a dog. And I don’t have the ‘endowment to save lives’ like you call it. What do you think is it going to be then?” He was being sarcastic again and I didn’t like that. It made him look like he didn’t even want to try. That made me feel like I was about to fail.
I lowered my head and eyed my fingers, thinking that maybe I wasn’t granted the endowment myself and that it might have been an illusion I lived in quite some time in the attempt to give myself the feeling that my life wasn’t that bad at all. But if it was all just a dream I considered that my life must be millions worse than I ever thought it to be and that broke my heart right there and then.
He seemed to sense it and finally reached out. A tip under my chin and I looked up at him. Suddenly it was the marine who reassured me. Not the other way around. It was odd although it felt somewhat right that he cared enough to change positions. “I really appreciate your try and I have to say that it was quite tempting that an adolescent tries cheers up suicidal grown-ups who saw things that people your age can’t even dream of.”
I frowned, not even close to understanding what he wanted to say and he seemed to read that from my eyes. “You apparently gathered a lot of experiences while you lived on the street. And you gained a strength that others can’t even dream of.” He stopped and his eyes were directed in the distance. There was a glimmer in them that told me I had gotten through somehow.
Anyway I was still confused and couldn’t make any sense of his words. He turned back to me and smiled. “The speech you delivered earlier made me think about some things that I still have to figure out. And maybe you are right when you tell me to watch out for the small things in life. I always did what I’ve been told but never really tried to find my own way. It’s probably time for it now.” He stretched his muscles and stood.
“Would you like to help me with that figuring out kind of thing?” His eyes glistered with sincere interest. “I really could need it. I don’t even know where to start.” I smiled and finally nodded in agreement. He returned the little gesture and I could hold back the chuckle.
“You know… that smile alone is one of the things you should watch out for if you want to be happy. It can light a million hearts even before you know it.” With that I pointed Diego to follow the two of us and he was there in an instant, panting happily and wagging his tail.
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