AN: Final Chapter Everyone. Please let me know your over all thoughts! Thank you for reading & Enjoy.
Tony concluded with his explanation of Abby's exploit and Gibbs simply nodded.
"You don't look surprised boss."
"This is Abby we're talking about DiNozzo…nothings surprises me anymore." He buckled his seat belt and leaned back.
As the plane prepared for take off Tony couldn't help but replay the last days events in his mind. Little did he know he wasn't the only one.
Tim couldn't stop thinking about shooting off that launcher. He really was a hero. Something he had dreamt of as a little boy; but figured it was too far out of reach. But he was wrong.
Fornell had the image of that perfect grenade toss. He always believed life was a game of inches. And that moment had proved him right. At his age he was glad to be a part of such a mission. His army training had finally paid off; and he couldn't be more thankful than to be part of something so challenging. With the decks stacked against them; they came out on top. And that would be something he'd be proud of for the rest of his life.
Ziva was hoping beyond hope that her wound wouldn't leave a scar. She had enough of those. And with the death of the Director; she didn't want one thing to remind her of this mission. Because in her eyes; one loss was one loss to many.
Mann had her sights fixed on Gibbs as the plane started down the run way. She knew the tension would be causing him pain; and wished she could do more to comfort him. But something told her that nothing she could do would ease the emotional pain she knew he was feeling. Her mind wandered to the interactions she'd witnessed between he and the Director; and feelings of inadequacy surfaced. He never looked at her the way he had Jenny. And even with her gone; she knew he never would.
Tony was trying to resist the urge of patting himself on the back as he peered around at his team. His team. For a few days anyway. In his mind; he knew he'd met the challenge fairly well; and hoped Gibbs felt the same way. Even if he'd never admit it. He would go from smiling at Tim's face after he used the launcher to a frown at the sight of Gibbs when they saw him. He was an emotional roller coaster, and knew the next few days wouldn't be any different.
A few shots of Jack Daniels got Gibbs through the plane ride and the wheelchair was no longer an option as he came into the terminal. He received occasional stares at his battered form; but had no problem staring right back. So needless to say; most of the patrons didn't stare for long.
Each of the team kept a close eye on Gibbs as they made their way to the car port. Battered or not; they were happy to have him back; and happy to have brought him home where he belonged.
"Well Jethro, looks like the truck stops here. I still got a few vacation days to fill in, so if you need anything. Don't hesitate." He shook Gibbs hand and the two shared a moment of silence that spoke volumes.
"Will do Tobias."
He nodded his goodbye to the rest of the team; but made a point to shake Tony's hand. "Not bad Dinutzo. Gibbs was right about you; you're a hell of an Agent."
"He said that?"
He had to smile. "Well not in so many words. You gotta know how to read him."
Tony nodded in thanks and paced back to stand with Ziva and Tim. No one wanted to get in the way of this next goodbye.
"They have a connecting flight to Honolulu taking off in a few hours."
Gibbs nodded. "I see."
"I figured I'd only be staying a few days anyhow." She watched his eyes shift to the ground and lifted his chin upward. "If you need me; I'm not far." She tried to smile. "Plus after an ordeal like this, you might want to think about taking an actual vacation."
He responded with a smile of his own and agreed. "Well right now I got a forensic scientist to rescue…" He leaned forward and gently kissed her cheek. "Thanks Holl, I owe you one."
"I'll collect Jethro."
The remaining team stood by speechless as they watched her head back inside. That was until Ziva hobbled after her. "Colonel Mann; I wanted to say thank you. I know I was a bit of a burden during the mission…"
"Officer David; you were nothing of the kind. You saved who knows how many of us with that call you made. If anything; I owe you a thank you."
Ziva held out her hand and sighed. "Have a nice flight Colonel." She watched her leave before limping back over to her team. They stood silent once more as if waiting for instruction.
Tony and Gibbs spoke simultaneously. "Let's roll."
"Uh sorry boss…go ahead."
Gibbs nodded and gestured towards the car. "You heard the man. Take me to her."
Meanwhile at NCIS…Ducky was impatiently awaiting their arrival. He stood at the entrance of the building with a bouquet of red, white and blue flowers. Within seeing distance of the car; he strode towards the curb and his heart almost leapt out of his chest. He was prepared for Gibb's appearance; so didn't seem phased a bit by his outward frame.
"Welcome home my boy." He handed Gibbs the flowers and shook his hand before embracing him. "I thought we lost you there for a moment."
"So did I Duck. So did I." He stared at the flowers and grinned. "Nice touch with the colors…what gave you that idea?"
"Well to be honest, it was Abigail's idea. We've had lots of time to talk about a number of things while you were away."
"Is that right?"
"Yes, quite. In fact you'll be interested to hear how she's gone to the restroom over the last couple days..."
"Uh you can spare me the details Duck. Just get me to her."
Gibbs entered the bullpen and was wistful for a moment. During his capture he had pretty much convinced himself that he'd never set foot in it again. Thank God…and his team…that he was wrong. He headed for his desk and it seemed as if hundreds were awaiting Abby's reaction.
"Ow!" She slammed her head against the top of his desk and knocked over her caf pow, all in one fell swoop. She had planned on leaping into his arms and nothing short of making out with the man; but she couldn't get her muscles to cooperate. "Oh Gibbs…I'm so happy! I'm so happy!" She was still on the ground and Gibbs slowly knelt down in front of her. She reached out and gently touched his face. "Oh you're hurt. You okay?"
"I am now Abs. Are you?"
"Are you kidding me? I've been stuck under that desk for almost three days. Would you be okay?"
"Yeah, sorry about that. I got here as soon as I could." He managed a smile as he simply stared at her. By far the most beautiful sight his eyes had seen in a long time. "I'm home baby girl."
It was that phrase that somehow jolted her up from the ground and into his arms. She wrapped her arms around his neck and squeezed him tight. Gibbs ignored the pain piercing through him and humored her the best he could. But after five minutes; something had to give. He eased away from her; so not to hurt her feelings and gently placed a kiss on her forehead. "Thanks for not giving up on me."
"Never did Gibbs. Not for a second. I knew you'd come back. I just knew it." She shook her legs awake and met Tim, Tony and Ziva with hugs of their own. "Thanks for bringing him back guys."
"All in a days work." Tim stood up tall and watched Tony and Ziva stifle a laugh.
"Nothing Probie; you just suddenly got three feet taller."
He smiled and watched as Gibbs made intense eye contact with all of them. He gestured towards Ziva first and the two limped slowly to the elevator; leaving McGee and Tony impatiently waiting their turn.
Ducky then reached for Abby's arm. "Come Abigail. Time to stretch."
"Don't Duck man me…now, feet together like so…"
The lights were dimmed within seconds as the switch flipped off.
"How's the leg?" Gibbs started as he examined her body language.
"Good. How are the ribs, shoulder and face?"
He gave a trying smile. "Clever."
"I like to think so." She responded and let her eyes shift around; with nothing else to look at but his battered face.
"Heard you made a hell of call during the mission."
"I just acted on my training. Anyone else in my position would have done the same."
"Yeah. Guess it's a good thing I let Jen put you on my team."
"Yes. I suppose so."
He examined her for a moment and leaned against the elevator wall to rest for a second. "You know, she'd be proud of the job you did. Even if she would've been pissed at you for leaving without permission."
"I am quite aware of how Jen would've reacted. It is a shame, we'll never know for sure."
"Yeah…yeah it is." A few moments of silence passed.
"So you brought me in her for a chat?"
Gibbs slowly shook his head. "No, I brought you in here to say Thank you. DiNozzo's good but no ones that good without a team. Proud of you."
She almost teared up but remained stoic. "You are welcome. But I would be amiss if I didn't disagree."
"Tony was that good. In fact, I have a feeling if we'd declined to join forces with him; he would've gone all…who is it…ah yes…Jack Bauer, and saved you on his own."
Gibbs nodded and reached for the switch. When they arrived back at the floor; he watched her leave and put his hand between the doors. "Get me McGee."
She entered to bull pen to see Ducky, Abby, McGee and Tony all stretching in a circle and had to laugh. "McGee!"
Tim almost fell over as he got up from the floor. "Yeah?"
"You're next." She gestured towards the elevator and watched him pass by her.
"Join us Ziva?" Ducky said, getting into the next position.
"I'm afraid I'll pass."
Tim entered the elevator without a moments hesitation and waited for the switch to flip downward.
"Nope. Just fine actually. Great to have you back."
He looked him up and down. "You gotten taller Tim?"
"Ha, not that I know of."
"Uh huh, so, tell me about this rocket launcher?"
After about a ten minute explanation of a thirty second story; Gibbs let Tim off the elevator and Tony wasn't far behind. But Tony saved his boss the effort and switched off the power himself.
"Don't want you straining yourself boss."
Gibbs gave him a trying smile. "You sure you just didn't take over my body too and couldn't resist?"
"Good one." Tony replied and slipped his hands into his pockets. "So…I know what you're gonna say boss…and I just want to start off by saying that they left me no choice. I mean, they were just gonna up and leave you there…and I don't care what you say; you would've done the same thing if it were any of us over there…not to mention Abby; I mean I couldn't get her out from under that desk, unless I got you back. So really I saw no other options. And yes, I got myself suspended and maybe even fired; but again; I weighed the pros and cons. And I swear, I did not persuade Ziva or McGee; they made their own choices. And Fornell; well he found us…sure I called Colonel Mann, but we needed transport…she didn't have to come along. None of us did. But we did. And I'm sorry about the Director. I didn't think she'd be coming after us; if I did I would've stopped it…I'm so--"
"Shutting up boss." He let his head hang low and felt Gibbs hand lift his chin back up.
"I was going to say thank you."
Tony sarcastically rubbed his ears out. "I'm sorry what was that?" He watched Gibbs slowly raised his hand up and tried to save himself. "Just kidding…just kidding." He shot him a tired smile. "No thanks needed boss; like I said you would've done the same for us…heck we're family; it's what we do."
Gibbs nodded in agreement before reaching for the switch to send the elevator back in motion.
"And I know this may be a bad time to bring it up, but I was wondering…since I went into a foreign land and led a successful rescue operation of a decorated Federal Agent that maybe…I could get an all expense paid trip to a tropical island or something?"
It was then he braced himself for a head slap; only it never came.
"That's not such a bad idea DiNozzo…not a bad idea at all."
It had been almost a week since Gibbs arrival; and although everyone was still healing emotionally and physically; things had started to get relatively back to normal. Abby checked on Gibbs every hour on the hour for days; and the remaining team members seemed to bond in a special way from the experience.
"Ah!" McGee fell out of his chair onto the floor as a BOOM! Exploded from his speakers.
"Nothing to be scared of Probie…it's just a rocket launcher."
"Very funny Tony."
He agreed. "I thought so."
It was then; Ziva looked up and tossed an object in Tony's direction. "Catch."
Tony put his hands out and examined the object. "Nice try Ziva; I know it's not real." He twirled the grenade around a bit and tossed it up in the air a few times.
"I'd be careful with that DiNozzo…Duds are known to detonate if tampered with." Gibbs added as he strode into the bull pen, coffee in hand.
"Yeah yeah." Then before they knew it Tony was under his desk as the sound of an explosion emanated from his computer as well. He slowly but surely came out from under it.
"Oh no, not another Abigail episode." Ducky entered and stood beside Gibbs with a smile.
"No, just another day at the office Duck. Just another day at the office."