Written for Jeanniefan78 (April) for WEE 2014

Chapter One

A lifetime of memories awaited him and he hesitated to make arrangements to confront them.

The phone call informing him that his father had passed away was hard enough to accept. Yet another loved one dying while he wasn't there to say good-bye, or even have a chance to prevent it.

The only solace he could find was in the fact that Jackson had died in his sleep. Ducky assured him he wasn't aware of any pain; just simply slipped away without waking.

As he sat at the table, a hot cup of coffee held with both hands as he stared into the dark liquid, he heard the sounds of breakfast being prepared. He closed his eyes and a smile ghosted on his face.

He was six years old as he ran into the kitchen hearing his mother making breakfast. It was a Sunday morning which meant his dad would be home- the mine not operating on Sundays.

His mom smiled at him still wearing his pajamas as he ran up to hug her around her waist.

"Good morning," she smiled while trying to smooth his bed hair noting he was overdue for a haircut.

He smiled back up at her before shaking his head to stop her fussing over him. He turned to his dad who sat at the table reading the paper. He moved to stand beside him waiting to be noticed.

Jack tried to hide his smirk using the paper to aid in his efforts. The young boy finally tapped him on the leg causing his father to startle at the 'unexpected' prodding.

"Well Leroy. I didn't see you standing there," he winked at his wife who shook her head and rolled her eyes at his silliness.

"Want me to read the funnies to you?" he lifted his son onto his lap as the young boy nodded his head yes.

LJ followed along with the pictures as he listened to his father read the words in the bubbles, often changing his voice to sound like the different characters much to his son's delight.

It amazed him how his mom always managed to time serving breakfast when his dad finished the last of the comics. His dad lifted him off his lap to stand right by his chair so he could sit down to eat.

Gibbs was drawn from his memory as a plate was placed in front of him. He sighed, but looked up with a smile for Kate who gently put her hand on his shoulder. It had been obvious he'd been miles away in thought. She only hoped that he wouldn't distance himself and would allow her to help him through this difficult time.

Breakfast was normally a quiet meal, but the silence that hung between them seemed almost tangible.

Kate sipped her coffee and regarded her husband. She knew all too well he wouldn't be the first to speak. "Do you want me to help you upstairs today?"

Gibbs lifted his eyes from his plate where he'd been pushing his eggs around with his fork. He gave her a half-hearted smile appreciating the offer to help sort through his father's belongings. "No, I think I got it," he replied. He wasn't sure what his state of mind would be as he went through Jack's possessions. He didn't want anyone around if he got to emotional.

Understanding his need for space, Kate nodded. "I'll hang out in the store then. If you need me just call."

The store ownership was in the process of being transferred to Cal Frasier, who had helped Jack out with the stored for the past few years. Knowing his own son wouldn't be around to take over the business, Jack saw it as a reward for Cal's hard work and dedication to the town.

As Kate cleared the dishes Gibbs reflected back to when his father and LJ Moore first opened the general store. His mom was delighted not having to worry about her husband and their good friend toiling in the mines any more. Jack had made a big deal about owning half of his own business, something he'd hoped to hand down to his son one day.

They had decked out the walk in front of the store welcoming everyone to come inside. His mom had made cookies and punch for all the visitors while young Gibbs donned a child-sized apron and helped customers carry their bags to their cars using his red wagon when necessary. He even pocketed a few coins as tips. He still didn't know if the townsfolk had tipped them on their own or if Jackson had encouraged it.

Gibbs never had told his father, but there had been times in the early days he dreamt of one day running the store. Of course, all that changed when his mother died.

Fighting off the direction his mind was traveling Gibbs returned to the present. He took his coffee mug to the sink and rinsed it out as Kate was drying the last of the dishes. He gave her a kill on the cheek and a one-armed hug before turning to venture up the stairs.