The Day It Changed
Disclaimer: Not mine, definitely not mine.
A/N I've finally had the chance to try an NCIS fic myself. I've been an avid reader for awhile, but not much of a writer. So, yeah, this is my first fic, so bear with me. I admit this one is slightly depressing, but I also have a couple of other ideas floating around (multi-chapter most likely), including a Tiva one, so shout out if you'd like to see them. This is also unbeta-ed so there may be a few mistakes (no matter how many times I've proof read it).
Rating: T for some adult themes
Summary: He remembered his family and their love. But most of all he remembered, he remembered the day it changed.
"Other things may change us, but we start and end with family" - Anthony Brandt
It was raining, the day it changed.
He was late, the day it changed.
They were arguing, the day it changed.
It was just another case, the day it changed.
Abigail Sciuto died, the day it changed.
His family fell apart, the day it changed.
It was just another case. A dead Petty Officer found in an abandoned warehouse. An open and shut case. It was the girlfriend. A jilted lover, the other woman. She was crazy. They found out too late.
It was instantaneous. One minute he was escorting her, the next, she had grabbed his gun. He heard the elevator bell chime. He saw the doors open. She was oblivious. She stepped into the firing line.
He heard the shouts. He smelled the fear. He saw her spin around wildly. He heard the sound of gunfire.
He should have reacted. He just stood there. Oblivious, just as she was. Oblivious to the sounds around him. The shouts, the yells, the horror. All he could see was her.
She looked frozen in time. Her face showing shock, fear, disbelief, all frozen in time. And then time moved. She stumbled backwards, hopelessly gripping the air as she fell. Two small, rose-like stains appeared on her shirt. She looked at him. Shock, fear, disbelief.
And then he ran. He pushed passed his senior agent who was staring horrified at the scene that was playing out in front of him. He ignored the strangled gasps of his former probationary agent. He took no notice as his newest team member pumped five bullets into the shooter. Head, chest, should, leg, stomach. He knew nothing, except her.
Dropping to his knees, he covered the bright red stains with his hands. He felt her blood seep through his fingers. He felt her life drain away.
"G…Gi…Gibbs." Her voice was weak, so unlike her. "W…wh…what ha…happened?"
"Shh Abs, don't talk." He so desperately wanted to console her, to take her hand and say that everything was going to be okay. But he'd be lying. They both knew it. It didn't matter.
"It'll be okay Abs, it'll be okay," he said, as much to himself as to her. "It'll be okay."
"Not o…okay, G…ibbs," she whispered, grabbing onto his arm. "H…h…hinky. I…I'm…sor…ry."
He saw her eyes close.
"Sorry for what, Abs?" He tried desperately to keep her awake.
No, he thought as his mind flashed to Kate on the rooftop, to his family and their bodies. No.
"Ge…ge…getting in t…the way." Her eyes flickered open, giving him a false sense of hope.
"You're never in the way Abs. Never." He felt her slip away, fade into darkness.
"I…l…lo…love you…b…boss…m…an," she gasped. "I l…ove all y…you. P…pl…ease don…don't for…forget me."
He felt her grip slacken. He saw her eyes close. He heard her last breathe. She was gone.
He let his hands slide down her body, grabbing her hands as they fell. He pulled her into a hug, imagining her arms wrapped around him.
A tear trickled down his face. "I'll never forget you, Abs. Never."
He felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned his head, not letting go of her.
"She's gone, Jethro." Ducky was looking at him, tears welling up in the older man's eyes. "She's gone."
And at this moment, Leroy Jethro Gibbs finally noticed his surroundings.
Jane Grady, the jilted lover, lay in a pool of her own blood. Five bullets holes in her body.
Anthony DiNozzo, his senior agent, leaning heavily against the wall, trying to support the weight of his partner.
Ziva David, like he'd never seen her before, slumped in the arms of her partner.
Timothy McGee, the most inexperienced, curled up in a ball, hugging his knees. He was sobbing.
And Abigail Sciuto, his forensic goddess, lying in his arms. Face pale, eyes closed, never to be opened again.
This was the day it changed.
Things were never the same after Abigail Sciuto died in the arms of Special Agent Gibbs. Contrary to popular beliefs, things never returned to normal. They fell apart.
They buried her in New Orleans. Surrounded by friends and family, they farewelled the brilliant and gorgeous young woman. Gibbs and his team were there, as were Director Shepard, Ducky, Palmer and even Michelle Lee. Abby would have liked the funeral.
Gibbs delivered a eulogy. He cried. His team wasn't used to his crying. They sat in stunned shock.
McGee designed the multimedia memorial. He played it for the world to see. Smiling Abby, laughing Abby. He cried.
Tony tried desperately to keep the team together. He failed. Badly. He couldn't keep the team together without falling apart himself. He cried.
Ziva offered a Jewish prayer. She had been sitting Shivah for the past seven days. And with emotions she didn't know she had, she cried.
Ducky knew that death was part of life. Hell, he was around it all day long. But as with Kate, he couldn't comprehend why such a vibrant young woman was taken so soon. He cried.
Jenny was at a loss. For the first time in her short career as Director of NCIS, she felt she couldn't do it anymore. Sure, she'd lost agents before, but never someone like Abby. She cried.
Palmer and Lee were shocked. They saw NCIS's best team fall apart around them. They didn't know what to do, how to make it better. They cried.
As Abby was lowered into the ground, the heavens opened. And they cried too.
Gibbs never got over Abby's death. He blamed himself. It was his gun that killed her. It was his fault. After Shannon, Kelly, Kate and finally Abby, he just couldn't do it any more. Tony, McGee, Ziva, Ducky and Jen all tried to help him, but he just pushed them away. Gibbs was a broken man. He drank himself into oblivion. He was never the same.
Then seven months, three days and nine hours after Abby Sciuto died, Leroy Jethro Gibbs wrapped himself around a tree. His blood alcohol level was five times the legal limit. His doctors told his team to say goodbye, he wasn't expected to last the next twenty-four hours. He died three days later.
Ducky determined that his death was an accident. But they knew better.
Gibbs was buried next to his wife and beloved daughter. Tony visited there four times a year, on his birthday, on her birthday and on their anniversaries. He continued to do this until he became too old to travel, so he sent his children instead.
Two weeks after Gibbs' death, Ziva disappeared. Jenny announced that she had called Mossad and had asked for her liaison position to be terminated. Tony didn't understand, but McGee did. He knew what it was like to just want to run. He didn't have the courage; he couldn't leave the place that was his home. Ziva did it for him.
McGee knew that Tony missed Ziva; he could see it in his eyes. No more was their bickering and good-natured bantering. Ziva kept in contact for a while. An email here and there, in between missions. But it didn't last. Gradually the gap between them became too big. Ziva stopped emailing and they stopped waiting.
Three years after she left, they received the first piece of news about her in two years. Ziva had been killed. A gun fight in the Gaza Strip. She was buried in Israel, next to her sister. Tony and McGee couldn't go to her funeral, so they held their own. Jenny, Ducky, Palmer and Michelle were the only guests. They erected a memorial headstone next to Gibbs and his family. Ziva would have thought it silly, but that was where she belonged.
Ducky continued to work at NCIS until he died of a heart attack at age eighty-eight. Everyone was sure he would have retired before he literally dropped dead on autopsy's floor. The doctors said it was instantaneous. Palmer discovered his body on a Wednesday morning, and despite his shock, he wasn't surprised. It had been a long time coming, ever since the events in 2008, Palmer had seen him die a little more each day. That didn't stop him from being Grandpa Ducky to the children of his best friends. He spoilt the children rotten and left everything he owned to them, to be divided evenly.
Tony arranged his funeral; he remained close to Ducky despite moving to New York. At his funeral, Tony and McGee saw each other for the first time in ten years. They had lost contact after they had both moved on. Ducky, like always, brought them together again. They were shocked to see how much each other had changed. Tony brought his family, his wife and four children.
Not long after Ziva died, McGee requested a transfer to Seattle, the other side of the States. He just wanted to get away from it all, start again. McGee never really did start again. He became a successful agent and eventually headed his own team, but he lacked passion. Sure, his team was one of the best, but it was because McGee lacked emotion. He distanced himself from the cases as much as he could; he never let them become personal. When they were personal, they hurt so much more.
McGee never dated after Abby died. He could never bring himself to do it. He just loved Abby too much. Instead, he lived for his job. His team had the highest number of case closures in the country. He just about single-handily brought down a major terrorist sleeper cell in the United States. He was offered jobs with the FBI, CIA, NSA and Homeland Security, but he chose to remain with NCIS and continued to work there until he retired. Timothy McGee passed away in his sleep aged ninety.
Jimmy Palmer and Michelle Lee married two years after Abby's death. It was a simple ceremony, attended by their family and the few remaining members of "his" NCIS team. After Ducky's death, Jimmy became the official medical examiner. He was a lot like Ducky, after spending years working with him.
Michelle Palmer eventually managed to find her footing at NCIS headquarters and to everyone's surprise became the second female Director of NCIS. Michelle ran NCIS well, receiving recognition from intelligence agencies around the world. But she never lost sight of the important things. Jimmy and Michelle had three children. Grace, Adam and Lachlan Palmer. Despite being Director of NCIS, she was always at Saturday morning sport with Jimmy, cheering on her children as they kicked the winning goals.
Jennifer Shepard stepped down from Director of NCIS ten years after Abby's death, handing over the reigns to Michelle Palmer. After Gibbs' death, Jenny struggled to keep NCIS afloat. It takes a lot to run a national agency especially if you're struggling to get out of bed in the morning. But she did it, and managed to do it for ten years.
Jenny spent her retirement in Mexico. She found it humorous, that she was living out the retirement that was meant to be Gibbs'.
Tony DiNozzo, Special Agent Gibbs' right hand man, quit NCIS and went back to his roots two months after Ziva's death. He moved to New York, where he was offered a position in their Major Case Squad. Tony rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the head of the Major Case Squad until he retired.
The destruction of his former team was hard on Tony. He attempted suicide. Once. It was a stupid act, more like a cry for help than anything else. His colleague, Detective Sophie Green, found him passed out in the locker rooms. Sophie supported him, helped him through his anguish and forced him to see a psychiatrist. Two years later, she became Mrs Sophie DiNozzo.
Sophie and Tony had four children within four years. Abigail, Jethro, and twins Caitlin and Ziva. His three beautiful girls and one perfect son became the love of his life.
Sophie and Tony watched their children grow up into wonderful people. Abby became a doctor, Jethro taught at the local high school. Kate followed in her father's footsteps and joined the police force and Ziva graduated as a psychologist.
As they grew older, the DiNozzo children changed and had children of their own. But the one thing that never changed was their love for a story about brave NCIS agents who now watched over them from heaven, keeping them safe and who will continue to watch over generations to come.
As Anthony DiNozzo lay on his deathbed at the age of hundred and three, surrounded by his children, grandchildren and a few great grandchildren, he remembered.
He remembered Kate and her smile.
He remembered Abby and her sparkle.
He remembered Gibbs and his Gibbslaps.
He remembered Ziva and her crazy ninja skills.
He remembered Ducky and his stories.
He remembered Jenny and her friendship.
He remembered McGee and his seriously annoying books.
He remembered Palmer and his tendency to say the most inappropriate things at the most inappropriate times.
He remembered Michelle and her nervousness when he looked at her.
He remembered his family and their love.
But most of all he remembered, he remembered the day it changed.
"What the heart has once known, it shall never forget." - Author unknown