Disclaimer: I still don't own NCIS. Damn.
So this is the end. I hope you have enjoyed the story, but reviews told me that alot of you didn't like what happened last chapter.
This was really hard to write so I'm sorry if it isn't very good.
Please review and tell me what you think. It is always good to get encouragement and advice.
And for all those that enjoyed this take a look at my other fic, Competition.
Ten Years Later
"Come on, boss." Tony said, opening the car door for his eight-year-old son, Alex Jethro DiNozzo.
Alex jumped out of the car and into a puddle. "Why do you call me that, dad?"
Tony pulled two-year-old Tali Caitlyn DiNozzo out of the car seat, "Call you what?" he asked absent-mindedly.
Alex sighed loudly. "Boss, dad. Why do you call me boss?"
"Oh," Tony said, zipping up Tali's jacket, "because you're named after my boss."
Alex put his hand to his chin thoughtfully. "Jethro?" he asked as Ziva stepped out of the car and pulled her jacket more tightly around her.
Tony handed Tali to Ziva and took Alex's hand. "Yes, Alex, you were named after Jethro."
Alex looked up at his father as it dawned on him. "Gibbs? Gibbs from the stories?"
Tony smiled softly as they began to walk. "Yes."
Alex grinned. "Can you tell me the story about the ghost ship again?"
Tony squeezed on Alex's hand. "Not now. We are going to see Gibbs."
Alex looked confused. "I thought Gibbs wasn't alive anymore."
"He isn't," Tony said, swinging Alex over a puddle, "we are going to his grave."
"Why?" Alex asked innocently.
Tony shook his head. This was much harder to explain than he thought it would be. "He died on this day ten years ago."
Alex nodded knowingly. He didn't really understand, but he knew that it must be important. He was only eight, but it wasn't hard to see how important Jethro Gibbs was to his parents. "Okay, dad."
The family walked up a hill in silence, the grass crunching under their feet and the morning dew seeping into their shoes. Tony looked over to Ziva. They had been married for nine years and Alex was born a year later. Six years later they had had Tali. Tony watched as the cool morning air swirled Ziva's hair around her face. As if on cue, Ziva looked over at Tony and offered a small smile. Gibbs' death had hit them both very hard. He was more of a father to them than their own had ever been, but the grief was nothing compared to the guilt. Gibbs had given his life to save Ziva's. For years after, she felt like she had ought to be the one to die. Even ten years later, she still felt that way sometimes. As they walked over the top of the hill, several people came into view, silhouetted against the early morning sun.
"Abby!" Alex yelled, pulling out of Tony's grip. Abby pulled Alex into a hug as he ran up to her.
"Hey Alex," she said, not her usual vibrant self. Abby had changed a lot after Gibbs' death. She became cold and withdrawn, crying for weeks at a time. It was only years after Gibbs' passing that she began to go back to her normal self, but even then she was different somehow. Less enthusiastic. Her lab was silent. No more music would play.
"Are you okay, Abby?" Alex asked, cocking his head to one side.
Abby wiped away a stray tear and smiled. "I will be," she stood up and turned to Tony and Ziva, "are you ready?"
"As ready as I'll ever be." Tony said, taking Alex by the hand again and walking to the grave, where McGee, Ducky, Palmer and Lee were standing. Tony looked around at his family. Ducky, who was looking significantly older than he did ten years ago, Palmer and Lee, who had married five years after Gibbs' death, and McGee and Abby, who were together, but not married. Each person had been affected in more ways than one by the events of ten years ago. They had lost a mentor, a friend and to some, a father. Tony looked at the tombstone before him. Everyone needed to put this behind them. It had been ten years. It was time. Everyone became very silent as each person became immersed in his or her own thoughts.
Palmer thought about Gibbs. He had not known the man well, but the memories he had of him were good. Although he had a rough exterior, Gibbs loved and cared about each person on the team. Palmer smiled at the thought. Gibbs' piercing gaze could have stopped anyone in their tracks. Palmer shook his head sadly. Gibbs couldn't stop Daegan's brother. And now he was dead.
Lee looked sideways at her husband. She watched as he smiled softly, before looking down and shaking his head sadly. She wondered what was going on in his head. Lee took Palmer's hand in her own and smiled up at him, expressing more care than anything else could.
McGee looked down at the tombstone before him. All this time he had told himself that he would wake up and it would all be okay. It was finally time to admit that Gibbs was gone and to come to terms with it. McGee closed his eyes and a tear squeezed out and rolled down his cheek. When he opened his eyes Gibbs stood before him. McGee saw Gibbs' hand connect with the back of his head. Out of habit, he rubbed his head, although there was no pain. Strange as it was, he wished there was. He would endure a thousand slaps to have Gibbs back. McGee looked back to Gibbs, still rubbing his head. "What was that for?"
Gibbs laughed. "Breaking rule twelve."
McGee smiled as Gibbs' voice sounded in his mind. "Hey!" he said, "Tony and Ziva did it first."
Gibbs grinned. "I know, but if you hurt Abby I will come back to life and kill you."
McGee shuddered. Gibbs was dead and he could still scare the crap out of him. "Yes, boss."
Gibbs raised his hand again and out of habit McGee cringed. Instead of slapping McGee, Gibbs stroked the back of his head. McGee could see Gibbs' hand, but feel nothing. He cried softly. He would give anything just to be able to feel it.
"I'm proud of you, Tim." Gibbs said honestly.
McGee trembled as silent sobs shook his body. "Don't go." He said, his voice catching in his throat.
Gibbs smiled sadly as he began to disappear. "I have to. Keep Tony in line for me."
McGee let out a strangled laugh. "I will."
When he looked up, Gibbs was gone and his tombstone was all he could see. Even so, McGee smiled. Somehow, he felt better.
Abby felt numb. Ever since that fateful day ten years ago, Abby had felt nothing but numbness. She no longer played music or wore her dark make up. Hell, she didn't even wear her pigtails anymore. Abby didn't want to be happy. If she was happy it would be like forgetting that Gibbs was dead, and that was something she could never do. She clasped her hands together and breathed out loudly, dropping to the ground. She couldn't do this. She thought she would be able to, she really did. But it was too hard. The next thing she knew was Gibbs was kneeling in front of her, eyes full of concern.
"Hey, you okay?" he asked softly. Abby closed her eyes and breathed again. She opened her eyes, expecting Gibbs to be gone, but he was still there, "Abs?"
Abby looked into Gibbs' eyes, "You left. You LEFT me, Gibbs!" Abby yelled, unable to control her emotions any longer. She had held it in for ten years and now it was coming out all at once, "Why would you leave me? I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye." Abby softened her tone and looked away from Gibbs. "I miss you so much."
"I miss you too, Abs," was all Gibbs said, ignoring her previous rant, "and all I want is for you to be happy."
Abby looked up and let out a strangled sob, tears rolling down her face. "I can't, Gibbs," she stared into his eyes, "how can I be happy without you?"
Gibbs smiled, "please, Abs, be happy." He almost pleaded.
Abby smiled forcefully, "I'll try."
"Good," Gibbs said decisively, "that's all I ask."
Than Gibbs stood up and put his hand out to Abby. When Abby reached out her own to grasp his, Gibbs was gone and the sound of his voice in her ears was replaced with howling wind. Abby shook her head and stood up by herself. After a second of thinking, she took the hair ties of her wrists one-by-one and methodically tied her hair into two pigtails.
"Thank you, Abby."
Abby closed her eyes and smiled as Gibbs' voice echoed in her mind. She would be okay now.
Ducky watched the wind swirling around him, the grass moving lightly in the breeze and the birds sing in the early morning light. He allowed his mind drift back to the day of Jethro's death. He recalled the autopsy of his dearest friend had been the hardest he had ever had to complete. He marveled at how he had even managed to get through it at all. Ducky was a changed man. He no longer told lengthy stories from his past. I didn't seem right, as he could remember telling all too many of them to Jethro himself. It was also true that a large amount of them were actually about Jethro.
"What you thinking about, Duck?"
Ducky heard his old friend's voice echo in his head. He smiled and turned around, coming face to face with Jethro. "You," he said sadly.
Gibbs shook his head. "Come one, Duck. It's been ten years. Move on." He grinned.
Ducky let out a chuckle. "It has been a while, hasn't it?"
Gibbs nodded knowingly. "What does this remind you of?"
Ducky was startled by the sudden change in conversation, but looked around nevertheless. He looked at the tombstone, the early morning dew and the sun rising over the hill. He smiled. "I truth, Jethro, this reminds me of the time when I served with…" Ducky was so immersed in his story that he didn't even notice Gibbs smile and disappear; satisfied that Ducky was going to be himself again.
It wasn't often that Ziva David allowed herself to be emotional. It was all part of her training and her training was something she could never let go. Nevertheless, the sight of Tony clutching Gibbs' bloody and motionless body was something she wished would just disappear forever, but it was burned into her mind and whenever she closed her eyes, it was all she saw. As she studied the single tombstone before her she felt a familiar feeling. It was a feeling that she had become well accustomed to over the past ten years. It was like something was burning, deep inside of her, something she just couldn't shake. Guilt. Even if no one said it, she knew it was true. Gibbs had taken a bullet in the chest for Ziva herself, and now he was never coming back. He was dead. Ziva closed her eyes and saw the vision of Tony on the floor holding Gibbs, rocking back and forth. There was crimson blood seeping through Gibbs' clothes, covering Tony and pooling around him. Ziva watched in horror as the scene played out. Again. When she opened her eyes she saw Gibbs.
"Stop it, Ziva." Came his stern voice.
Ziva grimaced at the voice of the man she had killed. "Stop what?"
Gibbs sighed. "It's not your fault, Ziva. It was my own choice."
Ziva shook her head determinedly as a single tear rolled down her cheek. "You should not have done it. You should have let him shoot me."
Gibbs smiled. "I could never do that, Ziva."
"Why?" Ziva demanded, "Why could you not let him kill me?" Even to her own ears this sounded ridiculous, but she was beyond reason. Gibbs just continued to smile as if he knew something that Ziva didn't. This in turn made Ziva angrier. "What?"
"It was an honor to be able to give my life for you, Ziva." He said happily, "You have a family now."
Ziva trembled with unshed tears. "You should be a part of it."
Gibbs just continued to smile. "I know, Ziva, and I wish I could be." He looked around and sighed softly, "look after them all for me."
Ziva smiled and looked at the child in her arms. "Of course," she finally understood everything, "it would be an honor."
Gibbs smiled and disappeared as Ziva closed her eyes. For the first time in ten years she didn't see Tony holding Gibbs' motionless body. All she saw was black. A warm sense of calm came over her as the burning sensation inside of her washed away.
Tony gripped his son's hand tightly as the memory of ten years ago came back to him, first in flashes, then more vividly. He closed his eyes and felt the warm blood seeping through his shirt. He could feel the cool hospital floor and Gibbs' dead weight in his arms. He could hear the shot go off, echoing in the small room. He felt the fine spray of blood cover his face as Daegan's brother shot himself in the head. Tony shut his eyes tighter as he heard the door to the room burst open. He could hear the nurse gasp in horror at the sight before her. He remembered Ziva trying to pry him away from Gibbs' body. He remembered running out of the room, tears streaming down his face. Tony shook his head. He didn't want to remember any of this. He didn't want to remember the things he had so effectively shut away for the past ten years.
"I'm sorry Gibbs." He said softly, opening his eyes.
"Don't apologize. Sign of weakness." Gibbs' voice cut in on Tony's thoughts.
Tony smiled. "You're dead and you're still on my back."
Gibbs appeared in front of Tony and smiled. "What did you expect?"
Tony shrugged. "Thought you might soften up a bit." Tony saw Gibbs' hand connect with the back of his head, but felt nothing. Out of habit, Tony grimaced.
Gibbs smirked, but abruptly frowned. "You named your son after me?"
Tony nodded, looking down at the small boy holding his hand. "Yeah, we did."
Gibbs smiled and looked at the little boy that was a spitting image of his father, save for his hair, which was clearly his mother's. "Thank you."
Tony looked at his former boss. "You died so that I could have a family with the woman I love. I'm the one that should be thanking you."
Gibbs looked up and smirked. "Who said I did it for you, DiNozzo?" he said, his tone teasing.
Tony shrugged and smiled. "Thank you."
Gibbs smiled. "It was my pleasure, son."
Tony didn't bother to wipe away the tears that were rolling down his face, obscuring his vision. "Goodbye, dad." When Tony's vision cleared, Gibbs was gone. Tony looked to his left. Everyone was smiling at him, each with sadness in his or her eyes, but somehow they all seemed brighter. Tony looked down at Ziva.
"Are you okay?" she asked softly.
Tony smiled and kissed her on the forehead. "I am now." He watched as Ziva took Alex's hand and began to walk down the hill with all the others.
Without another word, Tony looked at the tombstone I front of him.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs
Finally with Shannon, Kelly
With one last look, Tony mimicked the action that Gibbs had given him so many times. Tony slapped himself over the head as a mark of respect. Seemingly odd to some, this action spoke more than anything Tony could have ever said.
"Dad!" Alex yelled from halfway down the hill.
Tony turned away from the tombstone and looked down at his family. Each person had had a part in his life and for that he was truly grateful. Tony ran down the hill and smiled at Ziva, taking Alex's other hand a swinging him above the ground. He smiled as Alex laughed with glee. Tony looked at McGee, holding Abby's hand. Palmer had his arm around Lee's waste and Ducky was walking beside them, presumably telling them some sort of story. Tony was glad to have his family happy again, but he would never forget the man that had given his life for Tony's happiness. And he truly was happy.
A/N: So there you go. Hope you liked it. Please review. Thanks for reading.