by: echocognito

Disclaimer: I lay no claim to any of the characters from NCIS. They belong to Don Bellisario, Bellisarius Productions, and CBS. I promise to return what I borrow relatively unscathed.

I can't believe I've been counting the days since Gibbs left NCIS, left us, really. He had just been released from Bethesda, memory intact, but failed in his latest assignment. Those few minutes with him were heaven, even if I nearly killed him with one of my hugs. I guess I don't know my own strength sometimes. I wanted to pin him to the wall and kiss him, but not in front of the team. If Gibbs ever broke Rule 12 in front of his team, we would never hear the end of it, especially from Tony. Then he came back from Director Shepard's office and handed his badge to Tony. I'll never forget the look on his face when he realized he was the new team leader. But Gibbs' farewell kiss has been burned forever into my brain, not to sound too cliche. He approached me, put his finger to my lips to silence my protests, then kissed me on the cheek like old times. But there was a finality to that kiss.

Every night I slip into the basement of his home and work a little bit on his boat. But I usually get drunk on the cheap whiskey he keeps stored next to the paint stripper. Just like the night he took me in, back when Mikel was stalking me. I wish I could remember more from that night. All I'm left with are fuzzy memories and a boat to fix. All the sugar and Caf-Pow in the world can't replace my memories of Gibbs. I sometimes catch the looks Tony and McGee send each other, both questioning if I'm all right. I don't go to the clubs anymore, I eat Gummi Bears by the pound and gave up Caf-Pows completely, and I talk to my computer. Well, that part's not so unusual. But when I'm talking to the photo montage of Gibbs that I set up as my screen saver, they think it's time to worry. But it's not. I'm just lonely. I don't have the same kind of bond with you guys that I had with Gibbs. I don't think I will, either.