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by: taylorgibbs (Send Feedback)
Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1204
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs
Category(ies): Alternate Universe, Angst/Drama, Character Study, Episode Related
Pairing(s): - No Pairing -
Summary: After the events of Capitol Offense, Gibbs has a promise to fulfill. Spoiler for 6X03 Capitol Offense
Author Notes: Thanks to Anna for the beta!
“Yes, Jethro Gibbs here to see Charlotte and Brendan Kiley.”
He’d repeated this four or five times now, flashed his ID more than he usually had to do on a crime scene but this exclusive boarding school in upstate New York was home to the offspring of a lot of movers and shakers and had security to rival many federal campuses.
“And what is the nature of your visit, Mr. Gibbs?” The stern voice of the headmistress wasn’t a bit off putting. He dealt with people in positions of authority all the time.
He arched an eyebrow. “You’ve seen the news?”
She had the good grace to look a little embarrassed now.
“And I know you have the paperwork I signed after their grandmother died in ’06. Since Cole Erickson has passed away, I’m it. I’m their guardian. My lawyer will be here shortly, but that doesn’t matter. I need to see those kids.”
“I assure you…”
“Assure all you want,” Gibbs growled. “But I have to see those kids. As their guardian and godfather.” He crossed his arms and glared at the woman. “They need some reassurance now. Stop stonewalling me. It isn’t in their best interests.”
Her eyes flashed angrily but she went to her phone and he sucked in a deep breath. He needed to project calm and not agitation, security not nervousness.
Gibbs hadn’t figured all of this out and what it meant. He’d gone from processing Pat and Lynn to a couple of press conferences that Vance and the SecNav had insisted upon, meetings and more meetings, reports having to be approved before he could leave. He’d only had time for a quick shower and shave before booking a flight up here. And it was much later than he expected, two days had passed since he’d arrested their parents.
“Mr. Gibbs? We’re holding the solarium for you. Can I get you anything?”
Tea and sympathy came to mind, but he shook his head instead. “We’ll tell you if we need something.”
The headmistress nodded, leading him to a room that screamed expensive and overdone. He gave her a nod and stood at the window, breathing deeply. He’d done this before, but it had rarely been this personal. These were his godchildren, kids he’d held the day they were born, kids he loved.
Kids he’d now have to raise—because of their parents mistakes.
“Uncle Jethro?” Charlotte came in first, giving him a shy smile. She looked so much like Lynn with that presence that no twelve-year-old should have so young.
“Char,” he said, opening is arms. She ran the last two steps, snuggling into his embrace.
“I saw you on TV with…” She broke off on a sob and he rubbed her back, wondering how they’d gotten access to the footage. With computers and phones and all of it, they weren’t as isolated as they should have been.
“You shouldn’t have seen that,” he said quietly.
“But they did it, right? They’re guilty, Uncle Jethro, aren’t they? You didn’t make a mistake.” A deep voice spoke from the doorway and Jethro looked up. He was shocked at how tall Brendan had become. The fourteen-year-old was nearly six feet, at least eight inches taller since he’d been at Christmas. Gibbs jerked his head to the side, motioning the young man in. Brendan hesitated a moment and then crossed the room, giving them both a big hug.
“We need to talk,” Gibbs said, gently disengaging and leading the kids over to the sofa and sitting between them.
“We saw the arrest,” Brendan said softly. “They shut down our Internet feed but there was going to be the press conference and Dad wanted us to watch and…”
“And then you were putting Dad in the car. In handcuffs,” Charlotte finished.
“Yeah,” Jethro said, nodding, sighing.
“They killed those people? The woman…and Cole?” Brendan’s voice was getting more agitated and Gibbs squeezed his shoulder. “How could they do that? Cole was spineless, Uncle Jethro, but he was a good chief of staff. He wasn’t a bad guy.”
“Damned if I know.” He looked first into Brendan’s eyes then Charlotte’s. “They admitted to doing it. You can have the details later, but not now. Now…we have to talk.”
“About where we go?” Charlotte asked, her voice shaking, tears glittering on her eyelashes.
He nodded. “Remember after 9/11, one of the contingency plans if everything went to hell was to come to me? Your folks made that legal. If anything happened to them or we couldn’t find them, you had to come to me and I was to be your full legal guardian until your grandparents could get into town.”
“But they’re all gone now,” Brendan said quietly. “Grandma Tripp died in her sleep a couple of summers ago. So what does that mean for us?”
Gibbs leaned back on the couch, holding them both close, encouraging them to lean on him physically as well as emotionally. “It means that I’m your legal guardian now. Your parents reconfirmed that. It means that the three of us take care of each other. It means that if you’re sick of boarding school, you can come live with me. It means that…”
“You’re stuck with us,” Brendan said bitterly.
Gibbs shook his head, getting up and kneeling in front of the kids, knowing they’d drift to each other for support and sure enough, Brendan wrapped Charlotte in a tight hug. He rested a hand on each of their knees.
“I made a vow to both of you when you were hours old. I promised to love you and care for you and help raise you the best I could.” His voice was shaking now. “Your parents and I, we talked about what could happen. Remember…”
“Kelly and Aunt Shannon. We remember, Uncle Jethro.” Charlotte’s hand covered his and she squeezed it gently.
“And I’m telling you right now, there is no place I’m needed more and no place else I want to be.”
“But Mom and Dad…” Brendan said, trailing off.
“I made the vow to the both of you, not to your parents. And I intend to keep that. The three of us need each other.”
“Right now and always?” Charlotte’s voice was so childlike, hopeful.
“Right now and always,” Gibbs repeated in a firm voice, standing up. “And it will be my honor to fulfill that vow.” He paused, staring deep into their eyes once again, telegraphing his vow in emotions and words. “I love you both. We’ll figure it all out together.” He paused. “Do you guys need anything right now?”
As one, they stood, clinging to him and he had his answer. They needed him. And he needed them just as much. Their road was going to be hard, but he’d help them through it. It was the least he could do for the two innocents who had suffered so much in this mess.
“I love you and I’m here to stay.”
MTAC - NCIS Fic