Author's Note: Okay, please don't hate me, but do let me know what you think...
My eyes burnt from the tears that I refuse to shed; I removed my glasses and rubbed my eyes. I'm tired of seeing the young perish, tired of watching life slide from my loved ones right before my eyes. I could see the rest of the team, struggling to deal with his death, it would haunt them forever.
I could see Jethro standing at the casket, staring blankly at the cold, pale face of his former senior field agent. I wanted to comfort my friend, but I knew the gesture would be shrugged away as he struggled to control his normally composed facial features. My heart reached out to him. Here is a man who has lost too much, seen too much, but this... this has hurt him, more than he will ever care to admit.
I fear he might never recover from this loss, especially since the boy jumped in the way of a bullet meant for him. I wonder if DiNozzo knew how proud Gibbs was of him, how highly he regarded him. I also wonder whether Jethro will survive the loss of another one of his agents, another of his family.
To his left was the tear streaked face of Abigail. She looked heartbroken, her loud sobs tearing at my heart. The child was devastated; I see Gibbs turn to her and hold out his arms, she collapsed against his chest, gripping him tightly. He wraps his arms around her shaking shoulders, standing silently and letting her cry out her grief. A slow, lonely tear slides down his face. Perhaps there is hope for him after all. She will see to it.
McGee has one hand resting on the arm of a stony faced Ziva. It was obvious he had no idea of what to do with himself; Tony's death had shaken him up to the point where he'd reverted back to his ways as a nervous probie. Despite all the smart arse comments to the many names he used to call him, I could see that McGee was going to miss him. As the new senior field agent, he has huge shoes to fill. He is up to the job... but he will never replace Tony.
Ziva looked very composed for one who lost her partner mere days ago, but I rather suspect that she probably couldn't put together a coherent thought if she tried at the moment. I recalled the merciless teasing about her English, the arguments and the constant pranks between them. But despite that, he was the one who always had her back no matter what. When McGee hesitantly put his hand on her arm, she relaxed slightly, shooting him a small, grateful smile.
My eye moves along the crowd around us, and I see a flash of red hair, I turn back. For a split second, I see the faces of Jennifer, Caitlyn and young Anthony standing amongst us. But then they are gone and I must question whether I really did see them, or it was just my mind. No matter, I must believe they are still here in some way, watching over the rest of the team.
The casket begins slowly to sink into the ground below us and one by one the team throws a flower onto it. A black rose, a chrysanthemum, and a red rose stand out amongst the rest. Abby, Jethro and Ziva, I find the chrysanthemum an odd choice, never the less appropriate as it is a flower of friendship.
My mind flashes back to earlier that day, when for the first time, Gibbs was there at an award ceremony to accept an award, but this time it was not for himself. Anthony had finally received the NCIS Meritorious Service Medal and Gibbs was there to collect it. There had been silence as he made his way to the front of the crowd and collected the medal. I could see it in his hand now, clutching it tightly. Normally it would be given to family. Since Anthony rarely had contact with his, the Director had handed it to Gibbs with the instruction to keep it safe.
Gibbs has a chest, hidden safely away in his home that holds memories of those he loves. He kept something from each person he'd lost as a reminder. Shannon's letters, Kelly's Strawberry Shortcake doll, Colonel Ryan's hipflask, Caitlyn's sketchpad, Jennifer's necklace, and now Tony's medal. The list just keeps getting longer.
I am forced back to the present by the sight of Gibbs being handed the shovel to cast the first dirt upon the grave. The team gathers around him and we all grasp a part of the shovel and we know as soon as it hits the lid of the coffin, that he is truly gone.
As the crowd disperses, only we remain standing there. The charming nature, the clever wit and quick retorts, the arrogant smiles and the loyalty complete loyalty he showed to his comrades, there will never be another like him. This old Scottish man will miss him I fear. How do the Italians put it? Riposi in Pace, Antonio DiNozzo.