Title: Unfinished Business

Fandom: NCIS

Characters: Gibbs

Series: none

Prompt: #8 Awake

Table: debc./281277.html

Word Count: 566

Rating: G

Warnings/Spoilers: Spoilers for "Faking It" and "Dead and Unburied."

Summary: Gibbs had never been the type to walk away from unfinished business.

Disclaimers: Not mine, not even close

Author's Notes:

Gibbs woke up a good forty-five minutes before his alarm clock was set to go off.

Nothing had awoken him. No sounds from elsewhere had interrupted his sleep, not even so much as a dripping faucet. Neither had it been lights from a car on the street shining briefly into his bedroom as it passed by the house.

He was simply awake. Wide awake at "oh-dark-hundred" -- a time in the morning which many of the people he'd served with as a Marine had come to loathe.

For four months, he'd suppressed his more driven tendencies. He got up after ten instead at six a.m. He'd let his hair grow long, didn't shave. Even grew a mustache.

When he returned to NCIS, he'd kept the shaggy hair and mustache even after the stubble on his chin had met with the blade of his razor.

They were a reminder of his truancy, a reminder to himself -- mostly -- that he had other options still. He didn't have to stay. He didn't have to push himself night and day to save a country that had so devalued his efforts in the past. He could always go back to the beach.

More than a reminder, however, they were symbols of all the things he'd learned at Mike Franks' side those four months. How to relax, how not to care, how to let the rest of the world simply vanish from your memory like a faded scent upon the wind.

Except Mike hadn't really forgotten, hadn't really let everything vanish from his mind. That whole thing with Kobach proved it.

There were just some things -- some cases -- that you never let go of, no matter what. They lingered in the back of your mind, gnawing away at your conscience. Reminding you of all the loose ends if you even so much as give them a half a thought.

Pachenko and Kobach were Mike's loose ends, and he'd finally tied that knot.

Maybe that's why Gibbs hadn't made a fuss about just how Mike had found closure. He could have. Hell, he should have. Mike shot a man when he really hadn't needed to. It was pretty damn close to being vigilante justice. That Mike Franks had resorted to it didn't really surprise him, however. Hadn't he conveniently left Gibbs alone with the case file for his wife and daughter's deaths? Hadn't he done it so Gibbs could seek the justice he couldn't get any other way?

Maybe that was why Gibbs had let it go, let Mike go on back to the beach and the cantina and the forgetful indolence he'd found there.

Gibbs, however, was not Agent Franks. He had never been the type to walk away from unfinished business before, and despite his four-month 'vacation,' he knew he'd never truly be happy if he did.

He couldn't content himself with knowing that he could still be out there, in the world, making a difference.

It was this self-awareness which found him awake earlier than his alarm clock in the wee hours of the morning.

He wasn't Mike Franks, and there was something -- a loose end, if you will -- that he needed to do.

He got up, went to the bathroom and turned on the light. He opened the medicine cabinet and reached for his razor.

The mustache was the first thing to go.