Title: The Past He Couldn't Forget

Fandom: NCIS

Characters: Gibbs

Series: Hiatus Series

Prompt: # 41 Frustrated

Table: debc./281277.html

Word Count: 544

Rating: PG-13

Warnings/Spoilers: spoilers for Hiatus (parts 1 & 2)

Summary: Gibbs struggles with his lost memory

"The Past He Couldn't Forget"

The trouble Gibbs found himself in after that first night alone in his home was that it wasn't really his home. Not the home he remembered, at least. That would have been the three bedroom ranch house he and Shannon had found one night while driving around aimlessly. They'd been looking at houses all day and had turned the corner only to see a 'For Sale By Owner' sign in front of the cutest red-brick house with white shutters.

Kelly was asleep in the backseat, clutching a teddy bear. She always fell asleep when they drove anywhere.

They'd painted her room pink.

Shannon had spent one whole day making him hang up curtains and family pictures.

The pictures and curtains were all gone now. Gibbs had looked through every room trying to find something familiar but other than his own face in the mirror, he didn't find a damn thing.

And even that face wasn't the one he remembered. It was older, with grayer hair. The eyes looked back at him like they knew something he didn't.

Which was the whole truth of it. Somewhere hidden behind those eyes, in the back of his memory, were fifteen years he couldn't account for. Memories of... had Jen really meant it when she'd said he's had three ex-wives?

Three ex-wives. He couldn't wrap his mind it at all. Shannon was all the woman he'd ever wanted. The pain of losing her was still too fresh to contemplate moving on or getting remarried. Except he'd apparently done just that, three times over.

He couldn't even remember their faces, let alone names or when he'd married any of them. Looking around the house didn't help because there were so few things he remembered... the furniture, the knick-knacks, even the very few paintings on the walls weren't things he remembered owning.

And it wasn't as if he could call someone up and ask them to come over here and walk him through his life. They all thought he remembered, all accepted it because they wanted it to be true. All except DiNozzo, and to call him was definitely out of the question.

"Basement," he muttered. There was bound to be something there he recalled, something familiar and safe. Shannon's books or Kelly's toys or something. They couldn't have just vanished from his life.

In the end, however, his search only turned up a half-finished boat -- when did he learn how to build a real actual boat in the first goddam place? -- and several musty boxes of memories he'd apparently packed away and never looked at again. Some of them contained more things he barely recognized. But some of the older ones... they held Shannon and Kelly in one form or another. He looked at a few photo albums, but stuffed them back into the boxes when his eyes had begun to sting.

He wasn't sure what he was looking for anyway: the past he couldn't remember or the past he couldn't forget.

He finally did pick up phone, but only after his head hurt from trying too hard to regain what he'd lost. When he finally got a hold of the person he was calling, he asked simply, "Is there room on that beach for one more?"