What is learned in the cradle, lasts to the grave.

"In youth we learn, in age we understand."

Chapter 1

Light blanketed the bullpen as it pushed through the double panned windows. A single figure stood in the light, their face partially illuminated so that the dead, lifeless gaze became almost beautiful. The light burned into the pupil, making the blue glazed iris dance around like the soft tricklings of water. He'd been standing there for hours, watching the world below with an almost apocalyptic stillness. Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, the symbol of pain dried in high velocity splatter across his vest and features held only the pang of failure and his firearm.

A shadow passed across his feet, the hand raising to let weary fingers run through silver hair. Chips of blood fell to the carpeted floor, falling into the cotton threads to lay there until the cleaning would occur. The first movements, and what is soon to be his last lead Gibbs to press his forehead to the glass before the railing supported his ragged yet aged hands.

"First Ari took Kate. Then we took Ari. They took my memory. And gave you my past. Now they've taken you. And I...I..." His lungs contracted harshly, his voice wavering until it cracked to nothing more than a breathless whisper, and the grief that had been screaming for release took a violent hold upon his emotions. Visible convulsions racked his body, his forehead slammed into the glass, and in a slow liquid stream the hot tears of pain began to trickle down his features.

He failed. Once again he'd failed to save one of his agents. The thought of failure caused a rebirth of his finger, making it move to slide across the safety, switching it off. Suicide had been a contemplation before, but now it seemed inevitable. He began to feel the rough palpitations of his surrendering heart. The roughened tips of his fingers slid over the textured grip before he brought the smooth muzzle to his left temple.

A moment of hesitation brought the gun away from his temple. He took a series of short yet deep breaths before spreading his lips and laying them with a mournful and dry smack. There was too high a chance of failure with a temple shot, eating lead was much more practical. At least eating lead was quick and painless. There was yet another hesitation, but the soft murmurings of the elevator as it began to rise to his floor made him finalize his decision.

He released the rail voluntarily. An almost celestial, sense of epic beauty lowered upon the scene as blood the color dirty burgundy moved to decorate the desks about him. Laying intricate designs of a seemingly brilliant design. It didn't take long for his body to begin to fall, his brain matter mixing with the dingy blue carpeting to make a rather dusty and glob coated jell. His head hit the ground with a dull thud, and the rest of his body soon followed sharp enough to bounce a few times before finally coming to that resting place.

The familiar ding of the elevator door signified the arrival of the next occupant to enter the bullpen. His gun was drawn, and the creased brow of Doctor Donald Mallard met the scene with a mix of anguish and understanding. His gun lowered, falling to the floor as he made the slow trek to the body. A sigh registered upon his features before he spoke in that soft yet well mannered tone. "For what one has dwelt on by day, these things are seen in visions of the night eh Jethro?"

His body moved to lower to a kneeling position beside his once friend as he placed a hand upon his face, slowly closing those eyes. "I always knew it'd come to this Jethro, though I had hoped it'd be sometime before it did."

To be continued.