Disclaimer: Still not mine. The song isn't my property either. Don't sue unless you're in dire need of pocket lint.
Spoilers: 'Twilight', 'Hiatus', some smaller ones for 'Yankee White'
Notes: Gibbs's flashbacks are in italics, just so it's a little easier to distinguish what's happening in the present, and what he's remembering. Also, I'm leaving this story kind of open to interpretation, so think whatever you want! Please review, I'd love to hear what you thought of this story!
Oh where oh where can my baby be
The Lord took her away from me
She's gone to heaven, so I've got to be good
So I can see my baby when I leave this world
Jethro Gibbs woke suddenly, jerking slightly in the small hospital bed, as he heard someone enter the room. "Who is it?" He called out cautiously, fairly certain that visiting hours were over.
The soft feminine figure slowly came out of the shadows that had hidden her face, and Gibbs was struck with a feeling of recognition. The petite brunette was very pretty, her soft smile seemed to calm him, and he ached to run his fingers through her soft dark brownish-reddish hair. He flashed briefly to this woman, lying on a rooftop, as he remembered feeling an intense feeling of relief that she was okay. He remembered stroking her hair, wanting nothing more than to take her home and never let her out of his sight again.
Just as soon as the flashback had started, it came to an end, and he was left looking at the woman in the room. "You don't remember me Gibbs? I'm hurt. I thought that I'd leave a bigger impression than that." She came forward a little more, and carefully perched herself on his bed. Something about this didn't quite feel right to him, but her soft hand came up to brush his forehead lightly, and he pushed that feeling off to the side. Something about her made him feel okay, made him feel that everything would be alright.
"I do remember you…but I don't remember who you are." He muttered, his brow creasing in frustration.
The soft smile appeared again, and she shook her head. "Don't fret about it Gibbs. It'll come." She looked down and handed him a paper cup that he hadn't noticed until just now. "I know that this is probably against doctor's orders, but I thought that maybe some coffee would jumpstart that memory of yours."
Gibbs adjusted himself slightly, sitting up, and gratefully took a sip of the warm brown liquid. He sighed, the coffee reviving him. Suddenly, he had another flash, of sipping from this woman's coffee cup, sitting at a table in the early morning light. He had wrinkled his nose, and ruefully swallowed. "How the hell can you drink that stuff? That, Katie, is not coffee."
"Katie." He murmured softly, looking over the cup and into her eyes, for some sort of confirmation.
She bobbed her head slightly, her smile increasing. "I knew that it would spark your memory."
"You're…you're the first person that I remember." He said quietly, setting down the cup and gazing at the woman in front of him, willing more memories of her to surface.
She giggled and leaned into him slightly. "Just don't tell DiNozzo that…I'm sure that he likes to think he's first in all our minds." They both laughed as she leaned back slightly, returning to her former position.
"You know Agent DiNozzo then?" He asked, hoping to make some sort of connection to her and to the people that he had met throughout the day.
"Yeah, as much as I don't want to admit it sometimes, I know Tony. He's a good friend of mine. Good friend of yours too." She tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear and shifted slightly, so that she took up a little more of the bed. He had scooted over, almost on instinct, to make room for her.
"He works for me right? At NCIS?" Gibbs questioned, picturing the younger man's image. She bobbed her head again, and he nodded slightly. "So do we work together?"
She chewed on the inside of her cheek a bit before answering. "We used to." She murmured, looking out his window. She turned back to him, a hint of sadness in her eyes. "But we don't anymore."
He nodded slowly, as they sat in silence. She seemed to be studying him, taking him in. Her hand came up, and her fingers lightly glided over his burns, careful not to hurt him. "I know I look like hell." He muttered.
She laughed and shook her head. "I'm just thinking about how glad I am that you're…that you're still here. I was really worried about you." She sighed heavily, and continued to lightly stroke his face. "What do you remember about me Gibbs?" She asked quietly.
His tongue swept over his lips, and he swallowed briefly. "Not much…Katie." The name felt familiar on his tongue. "I remember being on a rooftop with you." A flash of fear crossed her face, but quickly fled as he continued. "I was glad that you were safe. I wanted to take you home and protect you. I remember sitting in a kitchen…" He paused, concentrating. "Your kitchen I think, and taking a sip of your coffee. You put…milk and sweetener in it." His nose wrinkled just mentioning adulterating his favourite beverage. She laughed and nodded slightly again. He caught a whiff of her perfume as she tilted her head slightly towards him, and he closed his eyes.
They were lying in bed together, content. His hand stroked lightly down her flesh, reveling in the fact that he was actually with her, in his bed. She leaned over slightly, so that she was hovering over his lips. "I love you Jethro." She whispered, her breath dancing over his lips. She bent down and began to kiss him. As his hands ran over her bare back, and his tongue explored her mouth, he knew that there was no other place that he'd rather be.
His eyes snapped back open as the memory ended, and found himself looking into Katie's questioning eyes. "I remember kissing you." He said simply, and a slight flush rose across her cheeks.
"Well I'm glad that you remember that." She murmured, leaning into him. Her lips were soft, and the kiss was light, but he indulged in the gentle, loving caress of this woman. "I've missed doing that." She whispered.
His eyes narrowed curiously. "Are we…not together anymore?"
She sighed again, and looked down at where her hands were carefully folded in her lap. "If I had my way, we would still be together." She answered, after a few moments.
"We're not together because of me?" Before she could answer he shook his head. "I want us to be together Katie. I don't remember a lot, but I remember you and…I like it." She smiled sadly and nodded.
"I want us to be together too Gibbs, but…it's not possible." She reached up to brush a wayward hair off his forehead. "But how about, for as long as I'm here tonight, we can be together." She brushed a light kiss onto his lips.
"What about tomorrow?" He asked, confused as to why it couldn't work when they were obviously in love.
She couldn't look at him as she shook her head. "It won't matter." She took a deep breath and turned back to him. "Tonight, let's try to get some more of your memory back, ok? And we can be happy together." Her fingers interlaced with his, and she smiled as he nodded his agreement.
For the next two hours, they sat on his bed, talking, getting to know one another again. At the end, he had remembered a little more about their time together, and more about his time at NCIS. Eventually, some of the other names and faces started coming back to him. He had a few select memories of Abby, Ducky and Tony, but was still struggling with McGee and this new woman Ziva, who Katie didn't seem familiar with.
Katie looked around and sighed. "Jethro." She whispered. "I think that I have to go now."
He grabbed her hand, keeping her anchored in place. "Don't leave me just yet Katie. I'm just starting to remember. Having you here has helped me so much." He told her, lightly stroking her hand with his thumb.
She leaned into him to give him a kiss on the cheek. "I have to go. A nurse hasn't been by in a while to check on you. I don't want them catching me with you." She licked her lips slightly, staring into his eyes. "Don't forget me Jethro Gibbs."
"I couldn't." He chuckled. "Hell, tonight should be proof enough of that." They both smiled as she ducked her head, and laughed quietly to herself. "I'll see you later though." It was more of a statement than a question.
"Yeah Gibbs." She nodded. "You'll see me." She slowly got up, leaving her impression on his bed. She reached over onto the table off to the side of his bed, and picked up the drained coffee cup. She walked over to the trash can and carefully threw it inside, before walking back to the bed. "Bye Jethro." She began walking towards the door, before being called back to his bedside.
"Katie!" She was back beside him quickly, placing a soft finger on his lips.
"Don't want to wake the other patients." She murmured.
"One last kiss." He muttered, his hand already cupping the back of her head. She smiled as his lips met hers softly. He drank her in like a man dying of thirst, with her as his only water. She moaned softly into his mouth as his tongue slid over her lips and into her mouth, skimming over tongue and teeth. There was love and passion, and an undertone of desperation from both of them. He wanted to remember all he could about this woman, but she seemed so reluctant to tell him about this past year.
"I have to go Jethro." She murmured against his lips, willing the tears not to leak out of the corner of her eyes. "I don't want to but I have to." She bit her lip, and pulled back slightly so she could look him in the eye. "I love you."
"I love you too Katie." He whispered, releasing her. She straightened, and smiled down at him, a touch of sadness.
She reached around her neck, and unclasped her necklace. "I want you to have this." She murmured, hooking it around his neck, next to his dog tags. She tucked them both back under his gown, and lightly patted his chest. "Get some sleep." She murmured, starting back towards the door to his room. "Bye." She whispered, waving her fingers in his direction.
"Bye." As hard as he tried to keep awake, to try and focus on her, his eyes drifted close, and he slipped into a dreamless sleep.
"Okay Tony, we're not gonna try and bombard him. Just kinda…ease him into things, see what he can remember about us without us telling him." Abby gestured emphatically with her hands, emphasizing her train of thought as they were walking down the hall. "Does that sound okay Ducky? I mean…do you think that's a good idea?"
"My dear, I'm sure that it will be fine. Just having you here is sure to jog his memory." Ducky replied, placing a fatherly hand on her shoulder. The trio walked into the room cautiously, not sure how any of them would be received.
Gibbs glanced up and the corners of his mouth turned up slightly in what they recognized to be the old Gibbs grin. "Ducky, Tony, Abby, good to see you. Come on in, have a seat." He called out to them, waving them inside.
"Hey Boss…how you feelin' today?" Tony asked, raising a curious eyebrow in his Boss's direction.
Gibbs dismissed Tony's question with a wave of the hand. "Fine, fine. How are you all?"
"You remember us Gibbs?" Abby asked quietly, her big green eyes hopeful. He nodded slightly, and Abby was quick to give him a tight hug. "I knew that you couldn't forget us for long!" She exclaimed.
"I don't remember everything, but I remember a lot more than I did yesterday. Katie helped a lot with that last night." At the mention of a new name, the three guests turned to look at him. "She came to visit me last night, snuck past the nurses I suppose. We talked for a few hours, and she helped me remember."
"Ah, Jethro, would you excuse us for a moment?" Ducky slowly got out of his seat, and ushered the other two out of earshot from the other man.
"Did he just say what I think he said?" Tony asked, turning back to snag a glance at Gibbs.
"It would appear as if our Caitlin visited Jethro last night." Ducky said matter of factly, sighing.
"But Ducky, I mean…that's impossible, isn't it? Kate's…gone." Abby whispered the last word, and looked down at her feet. The loss of her best friend was still a tough subject, especially so close to the anniversary of her death.
"Well Abigail, with your belief in the paranormal, I'm surprised. It is a common occurrence for people to see loved ones after they've passed on. In fact, when I was a young boy, I remember I once saw my Aunt Edith…"
"Ducky." Tony grumbled harshly, cutting the older man's tale off. Both Abby and Ducky shot him the 'You're acting like Gibbs again' look, and he smiled sheepishly. "Sorry."
"The point that I was trying to get across, was that from the endearment he used, it seems as if he and Caitlin were more intimate than we thought." Both men looked to Abby, figuring that she was closest to both subjects, to see if she had any opinion on the matter.
Abby took a deep breath and shrugged. "She never told me anything specific…but a few months before…well, you know…she just seemed happier. She made up stories about dating like…dentists and stuff, but," She shrugged again and looked back at Gibbs, lying in his hospital bed. "I think that…yeah. Maybe they could have been…" She trailed off, as the ramifications of this new revelation presented themselves.
"We have to tell Gibbs that the woman he might have…"
"Loved." Abby said quietly.
"Loved," Tony continued, "is dead. And there's no way that she could have visited him last night?" The other two nodded sadly. "Damn." They stood in silence a moment, each thinking of how they would break the news to Gibbs. When she died, it was easy, he was standing right there. But this time, it was a little more complicated.
They filed back into the room, each taking their previous spots, Abby on the bed, Ducky in the chair, and Tony leaning against the cabinet. "So uh…Katie came to see you last night?" Tony asked quietly, feeling strange using the endearment since Kate had always threatened him with bodily harm when he called her that.
Gibbs nodded. "Yeah, we talked about all of you. She helped me remember some of the things that happened the past three years. Not much about last year though, but things like Air Force One and some of our cases…"
Abby pulled her wallet out of the skull and crossbones purse she had brought along, and slowly pulled out a picture of her and Kate. "This is Katie, right?" She asked, handing the picture over to him.
"Well…yeah." He said, cocking his head to the side. "You guys seem surprised. Didn't you know about us?"
"Actually Jethro, we didn't." Ducky piped in, shifting slightly in his seat. "But uh…Jethro, we have some bad news." Gibbs's face fell immediately, something twisting in his gut.
"What happened to Katie? Was she in an accident, kidnapped? Is she okay?" He asked a barrage of questions, fear evident on his face.
"Actually Gibbs…Kate…she uh..she's dead." Abby whispered, tears coming to her eyes. Tony quickly came to her side, putting an arm around her shoulders.
"What? When did this happen?" He muttered, disbelieving.
"Boss, she died a year ago. Remember? Ari Haswari tricked us into believing you were the one in danger, and then the bastard turned around and…he shot her boss. Right in front of you and me." Tony admitted quietly.
"It's not possible." Gibbs muttered, shaking his head. "She was here, sitting right here. We kissed and we talked and…she was RIGHT HERE!" He insisted adamantly, slamming his fist against the spot opposite Abby.
"Jethro…we don't know what you saw, but…Caitlin is dead. We all miss her terribly and wish that she wasn't, but…she is. I'm sorry." Ducky muttered, getting up to place a fatherly hand on Gibbs's shoulder.
Gibbs just sat there disbelieving, shaking his head. "No. She gave me this." He tugged around his neck, pulling at the gold chain that hung next to his dog tags. "She gave this to me last night before she left." He unclasped it carefully, and handed it to Abby.
"Oh my God." She muttered, staring at the crucifix she held in her hands. She handed it off to Ducky, wanting a second opinion.
"Oh my…" He muttered, examining the jewelry. "But this isn't possible. I took this off her before I started the autopsy." He shook his head, turning it over. "But it does appear to be Caitlin's crucifix."
"And look over in the trashcan, there's a coffee cup in it. She snuck it in for me. She said that she guessed it was against the doctor's orders, but that it would help me remember." He pointed over to the trashcan insistently. Tony left Abby's side to go investigate. He shook his head, and pulled out a coffee cup, showing it to the others. Gibbs seemed to calm, confident with the fact that he had proof.
"Well…I don't know what to tell you Boss. I know what I saw up on that rooftop." Gibbs suddenly saw Katie on that rooftop again, but this time she was standing. But she was alive, happy, and smiling. "Wow, I thought I'd die before I'd hear-" And then her head snapped back, less than a second after a single rifle shot split through the air. She fell, and immediately, her head was lying in a puddle of blood.
Gibbs shook himself out of the morbid picture, shaking his head. "I just…I just saw it." He whispered weakly, out of breath and broken. "I saw her…die." He shook his head, again and again. "But it's not possible, it's not possible." He repeated to himself.
"Jethro, I don't know what to tell you. There is overwhelming evidence that someone was here last night, and you seem to be convinced that someone was Caitlin. But Tony and you both know what you saw up on that rooftop. I myself know that I performed an autopsy on her. An experience I'd rather not relive, but none the less, it did happen." Ducky said, clasping Gibbs's shoulder.
"Pretty cool though Gibbs…talking to Kate. Never thought you'd be the one to have experiences with the unexplained." Abby said, a soft smile spreading across her face.
"Yeah." He muttered, a little dazed from the bomb that was just dropped on him.
"Well, I think it's best if we head out Boss." Tony said, going back to the cabinet and picking up his coat. "You've had a lot of excitement today."
"Quite." Ducky agreed, getting up from his chair. Abby kissed his forehead, an exchange of roles for the two, and got up from her position on the bed.
"Duck!" Gibbs called out, as the three approached the door. "The crucifix." He said softly, holding out his hand.
Ducky glanced down at the gold chain and charm, still clasped in his hand. "Oh, of course Jethro. How forgetful of me." He walked back to the bed, and gently placed the necklace in Gibbs's open palm. "We'll come by later Jethro. Get some rest."
He relaxed slightly in the bed, fingering the delicate golden treasure.
I kissed her, our last kiss
I'd found the love that I knew I'd miss
Well now she's gone
Even though I hold her tight
I lost my love, my life that night