Click for Printer Friendly Version
Twenty Years Ago Today
by: silverfoxfiles (Send Feedback)
Series: Firestorm Universe #2
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1448
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs
Summary: Two marines remember Beirut.Sequel to After The Fire and part of the Firestorm Universe. Jethro Gibbs/Mac Taylor (CSI NY) pairing.
Author Notes: Two marines remember Beirut.Sequel to After The Fire and part of the Firestorm Universe. Jethro Gibbs/Mac Taylor (CSI NY) pairing.
Twenty Years Ago Today
October 22, 2003
Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington, Va
Mac had taken the entire week off work. The bombing had been such a huge part of his life, nothing a twenty year old kid should have had to deal with. But he had been one of the lucky ones. Mac had survived, even thrived in the years since. Life wasn’t particularly kind to him now, but he realized he had a life to live and that was much more than some of his buddies had. They were kids, half his age, and they’d never had a chance to change the world.
It was late in the evening and this memorial was the unofficial gathering place for the men who had been there and those who had loved them. Some of the guys had massed at Lejeune, but Mac didn’t think he could handle that. Mac scanned the crowd, somber faces, many grown men openly crying in front of their buddies.
He felt foolish looking for Jet. With Jet’s connections, he would be anywhere but here, remembering the event. Hell, Jet had a wife now, number four. He sure as hell wouldn’t be here with a bunch of lonely grieving guys.
Mac slipped his pack onto the ground, the emotional weight of the night exhausting him. Twenty years ago almost to the minute, a suicide bomber had driven into a building, killing over three hundred men, over two hundred of them US Marines.
Stan, bright-eyed kid, had died in his arms, bleeding out. Harry had lost his head, literally, Norton had been crushed in his bunk. And Jet. He’d almost lost his Jet.
Funny how everything in his life came back to Jet.
Mac bent down, pulling out a bottle of Jack Daniels and one of Maker’s Mark. He opened the bottle of Jack first. Harry Wright had loved Jack Daniels and even though Mac wasn’t a fan, it felt right to toast one of his best friends with his favorite spirit.
“This a private party or can anyone horn in?”
“Jet…” Mac looked over at his lover and placed the Maker’s Mark into his hand. Jet cracked the seal and stared intently at his watch.
“It’s time,” Jet said in a hushed voice. Bottles and glasses all around them rose, hoarse shouts of “Semper fi!” echoing over the park. “To all our friends who we lost. And to us, for making it.”
Mac took a long swallow, relishing the burn. By the third swallow, he was crying silently, Jet’s arm tight around his shoulder and his around Jet’s waist. They were estranged, furious with each other but right now they were as tight as they’d ever been, united in grief and remembrance.
“Come home with me, Mac. Give us tonight.”
Mac turned to Jet, shaking his head. “No. I won’t go there again, Jet.”
“Not for sex,” Jethro’s voice softened. “Just as a tribute to our friendship and what happened there. We can sit on the couch, you can see Kelly in the morning. Just for tonight, can we forget what drives us apart and comfort each other like the two friends we are?”
Mac couldn’t fault the logic in that and nodded. “Just this one night, Jet.”
“Just this one night.”
The men saluted the statue solemnly then walked away, arms around each other’s shoulders. They didn’t have much but they had their friendship and that would have to do for tonight.
Kelly had offered to go out with her dad tonight. She had heard the story of his survival in Beirut, and wanted to offer her support, but he had shot her down. Apparently, marines didn’t need help or emotional support. She got the message loud and clear, but that didn’t mean she had to listen. After class let out, she had rushed home, glad not to run into the step-monster. Knowing she still had a little time, she prepared some sandwiches and made sure her favorite ice cream was in the freezer before finding an old western on the TV. At least she could be there for her dad after the fact, if he’d allow even that.
While waiting on the couch, she studied for the history exam she had in the morning. When she heard the car pull into the drive, she tossed her book on the coffee table, and stood ready for what ever the reaction to her presence was. She didn’t expect to see who walked through the door though. “Uncle Mac! You’re here… With Dad?”
“Kel…yeah. We ran into each other down at the Iwo Jima. Guess we had the same thing in mind.” He opened his arms and she moved into them and he just stood, absorbing her youth and innocence, hoping it’d rub off on him. “You know what today is, right?”
He couldn’t assume that Jet had told her, or that she even knew much about the bombings. He eased back a little bit and opened his shirt, motioning to the ridge of scar tissue over his heart.
“Twenty years ago today we both nearly died at the hands of terrorists. I caught a chunk of shrapnel, nearly killed me. Looked pretty bad but I was okay. Your father broke his arm badly. We both became men that day when we had to hold our friends in our arms as they died. Kel, it was…” Not quite as bad as 9/11 but pretty close to it. “Hell. It was hell.”
He looked up as Jet came in and moved to them, wrapping them both in a hug. “I had to be with someone who understood, Kel. Someone who had been right there in the trenches with me.”
He closed his eyes and pressed his head to Jet’s shoulder, breathing the other man’s scent in.
Jet released Kelly and brought both hands up to touch Mac’s head and neck. “Come to bed with me, Mac. Nothing will happen that will destroy our vow. Stay with Kelly and me. Give us one night.”
“You make it so hard to leave, Jet.” He looked over to Kel, deferring to her. She’d been the one most hurt by all the changes in their lives and he’d leave the decision up to her.
"Stay." There was no question in Kelly's mind what needed to happen. Maybe this would be a good way to get the two of them to talk again. "I had planned on crashing here tonight anyway. You two look exhausted, and I know that it had to be a really emotional time. Sleepless in Seattle is on TV tonight, we can have a puppy pile and catch the movie. Sound like an okay idea?"
“Sounds like the best damn idea I’ve heard in ages. Is there anyplace where we can still order food?” He pulled back from Jet slightly, examining his friend carefully.
“You look like hell, Jet. Where is Cruella and what is she doing to you?”
"Steph wasn't here when I got home, no note, but I didn't look too hard.” Kelly rolled her eyes. “Wasn't a real hardship to me. And no need to order in, I whipped up some sandwiches, you guys have what I already made and I'll make up a few more. It's dorm food, but not too shabby. I could even whip up some ramen if you're looking for the full college experience."
"Sandwiches are fine Kel, sounds better than carryout." Jethro wondered if he looked as bad as Mac made it sound. "I suggested that Steph might want to find some friends to go out with tonight. I knew that tonight I was going to want to come home and crash, and didn't want anyone around. You two are the only ones I'd want around."
“We’re here,” Mac said simply, still staring into Jet’s face. “I don’t like what I see. You’re tired and drawn and you look defeated. Have you and Kel had any time together? Any time to just curl up and be dad and not so little girl? Cruella does tend to dominate your time, Jet. Give your relationship with Kel, and yours with your old man, a priority, okay guys?”
“Yes, sir.” Kelly winked at her uncle. “Come on, oh wise ones. The puppy pile awaits.”
Mac met Jet’ gaze over Kelly’s head and nodded. “Semper fi, Jet.” Whatever happened tomorrow, they’d make the most of tonight.
MTAC - NCIS Fic