AUTHOR'S NOTES: Watching one of my favorite episodes 'Honor Code' and specifically the very end of the episode, I wondered what would be different if Kelly had lived. So I decided to do a story using certain episodes and rewriting them.
First up is 'Kill Ari' parts 1 and 2.
Please read, review, and show your love!
NCIS: What Should Have Been…
15 Years Ago
Leroy Jethro Gibbs couldn't believe what he'd just heard. Shannon… His beautiful Shannon was dead… Looking up at his CO, Gibbs asked, "And Kelly?"
"She's pretty banged up according to the doctors…" The other man replied. "But it looks like she'll make it."
"I have to get home," Gibbs insisted.
"I know, Gunny," the CO said, nodding. "I'll do my best to get you out in the morning."
When he'd finally gotten home, Gibbs stood outside his daughter's hospital room, watching his little girl sleeping. Kelly's right leg was in a cast up to her hip and she was covered in healing cuts and scrapes. Gibbs had spent the past few days trying to figure out the best way to tell Kelly that her mom was gone and when he saw Kelly start to wake up, he figured he couldn't put it off any more. Going into the room and sitting next to the bed, Gibbs waited until the little girl looked at him.
"Daddy?" Kelly asked, trying to sit up a bit. "Where's Mommy?"
Gibbs sighed as he leaned forward. "She's gone, Kelly…" Seeing the pain and denial in his little girl's eyes Gibbs said, "I'm sorry, Kelly. I should have been here. If I hadn't left…"
Kelly didn't reply but there were tears falling down her cheeks as she pulled the blankets up to her chin. After a minute or two, Kelly whispered, "Daddy, don't leave, okay?"
Gibbs smiled at his daughter and promised, "Never again, Kelly."
13 Years Later
The rain had been coming down hard for a few hours and in the apartment she shared with her best friend, Maddie Tyler, Kelly Gibbs was still curled in an armchair next to the phone praying that someone from her father's team would call.
"No news?" Maddie asked, startling her friend as she came into the room. "Kelly?"
"They went to that warehouse 5 hours ago," Kelly said, staring to the phone, willing it to ring.
"They would have called if—" Maddie was cut off by a sharp ring from the phone which Kelly snatched up.
"Dad?" Kelly asked, wanting, more than ever, to hear her father's voice.
"Kate's dead," Gibbs' voice said, hoarsely.
"Oh, God…" Kelly said, quietly. "Dad, I… I-Is everyone else okay? Tim and Tony…?"
"Processing the crime scene," Gibbs replied. "I-I'll call and check in later, okay?"
"Sure, Daddy," Kelly said, hanging up. Looking up at Maddie, she said, "I need to get over to NCIS."
Maddie nodded and grabbed her car keys and her jacket. "Let's go."
Alone in the squad room, Leroy Jethro Gibbs looked out at the dark and rainy night before turning to look at the desk of Special Agent Caitlin Todd. The agent who had dived in front of a bullet to protect him before taking a sniper shot to the head.
"Why me, Gibbs?" Kate seemed to ask him, looking the same as when she'd died. "Wasn't stopping one bullet enough for you? Why did I have to take two?"
Gibbs shook his head. It was late… he was tired and his mind was too scattered to think about making sense of what had happened. "I… I don't know," Gibbs admitted.
"You don't know?" Kate asked, leaning down. "Come on, Gibbs. What does that famous gut tell you? Why did I die instead of you?"
Gibbs turned to see Kelly coming off the elevator followed by Agents Anthony DiNozzo and Timothy McGee. "Kelly. What are you doing here?"
"I wanted to make sure you were okay," Kelly replied, as her father stood and hugged her. "I needed to see you."
"Does Maddie know you left?" Gibbs asked, noticing how wet his daughter looked.
"She dropped me off," Kelly nodded.
Gibbs looked at Tony and McGee and asked, "What do you got?"
"We found Ari's sniper's nest, boss," Tony replied.
"Roof top of an abandoned office building to the east," McGee added.
Tony held out a bag of evidence jars, saying, "He didn't police his brass."
"Are those .308s?" Kelly asked, watching her father as he looked at the casings under the light of the desk lamp.
"Lapua," Tony added, with a nod.
"Match-grade sniper ammo," Gibbs muttered, before looking at Tony. "Tony… You're soaking wet. Go put some dry clothes on." Looking at Kelly, he could see that she wanted to be there but he didn't want to talk shop in front of his daughter. "Kelly…" Holding out the evidence bag, he said, "Take this down to Abby."
"Dad…" Kelly said, taking the bag.
"Kelly," Gibbs said, firmly. "Please."
Kelly started ever so slightly at the word but she nodded before dropping the bag and throwing her arms around her father's neck. "I'm so glad you're not dead, Daddy," She said, hugging him and smiling slightly when Gibbs hugged her back. Letting go and giving her father a smile and a kiss on the cheek, she grabbed the evidence bag and headed to the elevator, stopping it just before it reached the next floor.
"It's okay to cry," Kate's voice said, quietly, as Kelly sniffed and wiped her eyes.
"Last time I cried…" Kelly sniffled. "…was when Mom died."
"I think your dad would understand," Kate replied as Kelly turned the elevator back on.
Going into Abby Scuito's lab, Kelly heard the forensic scientist's sobbing laugh and asked, "Abby?"
"Kelly," Abby replied as she finished pulling her hair into it's usual pigtails. "What are you doing here?"
"Are you okay?" Kelly asked, walking over.
Abby didn't reply, but instead stood and pulled Gibbs' daughter into a hug. "I will be." Pulling away she asked, "What can I do for you?"
"You're acting about as weird as Dad right now," Kate said, quietly.
"How's that?" Abby asked.
"He's being nice," Tony said as he came into the room.
"Gibbs is always nice," Abby countered.
"To you, Ducky, and Kelly, maybe," Tony replied. "Me, he growls at and smacks on the head."
"Which makes you feel wanted," Abby insisted. "What do you have for me?" she asked, noticing the evidence bag Kelly was holding.
".308 casings from Ari's sniper's nest," Tony replied as Kelly handed the bag over.
Abby seemed to be annoyed as she said, "You would have to give me the most popular caliber in the world."
"Well, hey, I just found them," Tony replied, a snap in his voice. "Can you tell what weapon he used?"
"A .308?" Kelly replied, sarcasm dripping from her tone.
"What model .308?" Tony asked, his tone snippy as he looked from Kelly to Abby.
"You don't know?" Abby asked Tony as she wrote her name on the evidence bag.
"You're the firearms expert," Tony stated.
"That I am," Abby said as she pulled latex gloves on. "And when I'm done I will tell you the propellant, the primer, the percentage of copper and nickel in the brass, whether or not all three rounds were fired using the same weapon, which you assume, but I can prove or disprove." Her voice was getting more and more agitated as she started turning on her computers and equipment. "I will tell you who manufactured the ammo, the batch number, and, perhaps, where it was sold. I will also tell you with some degree of accuracy whether it was fired from a lever-action, a bolt action, a semi-automatic, or an automatic weapon." Turning back to Tony Abby was practically shouting as she finished, "However, there is no way in Hell I could tell you which of the 87 different .308 weapons fired those rounds!"
Tony looked like a puppy that had just been yelled at and he said, quietly, "The rounds are Lapua."
"What?" Abby asked, exasperated.
"Lapua made the ammo," Tony clarified.
"Logo's on the rim," Kelly added, not wiping away the tears in her eyes.
Abby was crying as well and she and Kelly hugged Tony who put his arms around the two women. "Tony, I'm going to miss her," Abby sobbed.
"I know," Tony whispered. "Me, too." A split second later, however, he pulled both girls down as a shot came through the window. "You guys okay?" Tony asked as Kelly cried out.
"Yeah," Abby said, from underneath Tony. "You're really heavy."
"Sorry," Tony said as he pulled both Kelly and Abby to the side and out of range.
"No wonder you're so heavy," Abby said, feeling Tony's abs as he pulled his weapon from it's holster. "Tony, you're all muscle."
Behind Tony, Kelly lightly smacked his butt. "Packing a nice booty, too."
Looking at the girls, Tony frowned. "Is this how the two of you handle being shot at?"
Kelly shrugged and Abby said, "I don't know. It's my first time."
"Boss, down, we're taking fire," Tony said and Kelly saw her father come into the room keeping low and turning off the lights of Abby's refrigerators as he joined them.
"You guys okay?" Gibbs asked the three of them, but looking specifically at Kelly.
"We're fine, Daddy," Kelly insisted as Gibbs sat between her and Abby, putting an arm around both of them.
Looking at Tony, Gibbs said, "Close off Anacostia Park between the bridges. Tell Metro cops it's a crime scene."
"Got it, boss," Tony said and started to stand up.
"Hey!" Gibbs said in a low shot as he pulled Tony down. "What if he has a night-vision scope?"
"That's a good point, boss," Tony admitted as he stayed low and headed for the elevator.
Looking at Abby, Gibbs said, "I will get you bullet-proof glass."
"There's no such thing, Dad," Kelly said, hugging him.
"Bullet-resistant glass," Gibbs amended, picking glass from Abby's hair before turning to Kelly and pulling her closer.
"Ari didn't shoot at you and hit Kate by mistake, did he?" Abby said, looking at her boss. "He's after me, now."
"I was walking by that window when he fired," Gibbs replied not wanting to think about how he almost lost Abby and Kelly in one shot.
"You're just trying to make us feel better," Kelly said, quietly.
"I'll keep you both safe," Gibbs said, kissing the top of Kelly's head before doing the same to Abby. "I promise."
Kelly didn't want to say anything, but the question she thought of was 'Like you kept Mom safe?'
Up in the squad room, Kelly looked at Tony as Abby finished writing up an incident report. "What aren't you telling me, Tony?" Kelly asked, staring down the senior field agent from Kate's desk where she was curled in the chair.
"About what?" Tony asked, dodging the question.
"About all of this," Kelly snapped, angrily. "First someone's trying to kill Dad… then Kate gets shot… What is going on?"
Tony sighed as he sat down and looked at Gibbs' daughter. "Ari Haswari is a Hamas terrorist. He's the same one who shot your Dad before. Now it looks like he's targeting the people who work with Gibbs."
Kelly took a deep breath and said, "This guy was trying to kill me and Abby?"
"Probably," Tony replied as Kelly got up and started pacing. "Kelly… You should have stayed home."
"Come on, Kel," Abby said as she finished her report. "You can help me process the car in the evidence garage."
Kelly nodded and hurried after Abby. After meeting the forensic scientist 6 years ago, Kelly had become fascinated with the whole subject and when she'd started college, she'd decided to go into forensics. Halfway through her master's degree, Kelly knew enough to be an assistant to Abby on cases.
"You okay?" Abby asked as they got off the elevator.
"I don't know," Kelly replied as she followed Abby into the evidence garage. "Ask me later when people aren't trying to kill me."
Abby gave her a knowing smile. "You got it."
"—I got a dead agent, a sniper on the loose, and my daughter here. I don't have 10 minutes to spare."
Tony glanced up when he heard Gibbs' voice coming down the stairs from the second level a short while later.
"Tony, where are we?" Gibbs asked, stopping in front of the agent's desk.
"Abby, McGee, and Kelly are working firearms analysis," Tony replied, looking at Gibbs and the redheaded woman with him. "I'm matching tire tracks to vehicles."
"No one is to leave the building," Gibbs ordered, giving Tony a pointed look. "That includes Kelly. Remind her to call Maddie and let her know what's going on," he added, turning and heading for the elevator, the mystery woman following. "God knows I don't need the both of them in danger. McGee's on protection detail with Abby and Kelly. I'll be back in an hour."
Tony smiled as Gibbs left the room and somewhere in his mind… or maybe it was Kate's ghost—but he heard, "Your mother should have washed your mind out with soap." Standing next to his desk, Tony saw Kate standing there wearing jeans tighter than anything she'd worn in life and a tight low-cut tank top. "Gibbs leaves with a woman and your only thought is: Nooner."
Tony shook his head and leaned back with a sigh. "Actually I was wondering if she knows Gibbs' #1 girl will always be Kelly."
"Sure you were, DiNozzo," Kate said, smirking. "Next you're going to tell me you've never had fantasies about sleeping with Kelly."
Tony laughed but before he could reply to the hallucination, he saw a woman standing near Kate's desk. "Can I help you?"
"Ziva David," The woman replied, holding out a badge. "Mossad."
"You're Israeli," Tony said, looking Ziva over. "What can I do for you, Miss David?"
"Nothing," Ziva replied. "I'm here to see Special Agent Gibbs."
"How do you know I'm not Gibbs?" Tony asked, smirking.
"Gibbs?" Ziva asked again as she sat down in Kate's chair.
"He'll be back in an hour," Tony replied, a bit thrown off by the woman's brazen personality. "Are you sure I can't help you?"
Ziva tsked and replied, "I don't think so."
Tony sighed and stood, walking over to Ziva. "Okay, we got off to a bad start. I'm Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, Gibbs' senior field agent and his second in command. Since Gibbs isn't here, I know he'd want me to help you in any way I can."
"You can't help," Ziva said, standing as well. "Because I'm here to stop Special Agent Gibbs from killing a Mossad officer."
"Ari Haswari?" Tony asked, smirking.
"Yes," Ziva confirmed.
"I'd wish you luck," Tony replied, facing off with Ziva. "But I want the bastard dead, too. He killed my partner and he almost killed Gibbs' daughter."
Ziva backed away and went to sit and wait for Gibbs to return from whatever he was doing. Here at NCIS she felt more unwelcome than she'd ever felt at any other government agency.
Down in the forensics lab, Kelly was sitting off to the side watching Abby and McGee work while slow sorrowful blues played in the background and a maintenance crew put in the promised bullet resistant glass on all the windows.
"What is with this music?" McGee asked as he walked up behind Abby.
"I'm playing it out of respect for Kate," Abby replied, working on her computer.
"I thought you were from New Orleans," McGee said, a bit puzzled.
"So?" Abby asked.
"Well, don't they play jazz at funerals?" McGee asked.
Abby turned and gave him a look. "Coming from the cemetery after the body has been buried," she clarified. "On the way to the cemetery we play a dirge. Do you know what a dirge is, Timmy?"
"Creepy music?" McGee replied, shrugging.
"What are you doing here anyway?" Kelly asked, starting to get incredibly bored, despite the circumstances.
"Thank you," Abby added, happy that Kelly asked the question that had been on Abby's mind for the past few minutes. "McGee, just go back to the squad room and let me do my job."
McGee sighed. "I can't," he said, wishing that he could. The music was really starting to be annoying. It was so depressing…
"Why?" Kelly asked, getting off of Abby's computer stool and crossing her arms.
Looking from Kelly to Abby, McGee said, "Gibbs—Gibbs told me to watch over the two of you."
"Oh…" Abby said, turning back to her computers. "That is so sweet."
"No, it's unnecessary," Kelly said, annoyed. "I don't need a babysitter. I'm 24 years old. I think I can take care of myself."
"Kelly, if I leave you alone, Gibbs is going to kill me," McGee protested. "Just let me do my job, okay?"
"Where is Dad anyway?" Kelly muttered as she went to watch what Abby was doing.
"Don't know," McGee muttered to himself. "But I really hope he gets back soon."
"How's Kelly?" NCIS Director Jenny Shepard asked as she saw Gibbs coming down the basement stairs.
"She's fine," Gibbs said, shortly. "Scared right now. She wanted to check on me and got herself stuck in this mess."
"She looks even more like you now than she did 6 years ago," Jen noticed. "College?"
"Online courses," Gibbs replied. "She wants to go into forensics."
"Think she'll be happy to see me?" Jen asked as she and Gibbs stood in the dark basement.
"Don't know," Gibbs admitted, leaning on the boat frame that filled the basement space. "Why do you ask?"
"She's a wonderful young woman, Jethro," Jen replied. "Intelligent… Stubborn…" Smirking, she added, "She's just like you, really." After a few moments, Jen gave Gibbs a look. "Kelly shouldn't be involved in this, Jethro."
"You think I brought my little girl into all this, Jen?" Gibbs snapped, angrily. "I want her to be at home with her best friend watching a movie and—and doing her nails!" Walking around the boat frame, Gibbs' eyes were filled with fire as he said, "Ari fired into Abby's lab and almost took out Abby, Kelly, andDiNozzo!"
"Jethro, those who know don't believe Ari Haswari is the sniper," Jen insisted.
"This is my team and my daughter that's at stake," Gibbs said. "I know it's him, Jen. And if you trust me you'll help me prove it."
"I'm on your side, Jethro," Jen said as they headed out of the basement and out to the car. "But I'm still going to need more than your gut to convince everyone else."
Kelly was relieved when her father finally entered the lab. "Dad? Everything okay?" Catching his look she amended, "Other than… well…"
"Jenny Shepard is back in town," Gibbs said, watching his daughter's reaction. "She's the new director of NCIS."
"I'll have to go say 'hi'," Kelly replied.
"Go ahead," Gibbs said, giving her a look. "I need to talk to Abby."
Kelly nodded and asked, "When can I go home?"
"Not yet," Gibbs said. When Kelly sighed, he pulled her into a hug. "Hey. It'll be okay."
Kelly gave him a quick hug and headed for the elevator. When she got to the director's office, she knocked and waited until she heard a voice behind her.
"Kelly," Jen said as she reached the top of the stairs. "How are you?"
"Just wanted to drop by," Kelly said, smiling. Of all her father's girlfriends, lovers, and ex-wives, Jenny Shepard had always been her favorite and the two got along well. "Dad's talking shop with Abby."
"Are you okay?" Jen asked, concerned.
"I'm tired, I haven't had real food since last night, and I can't leave NCIS," Kelly said as she and Jen went into the director's office. "My best friend is worried about me and my Dad thinks someone wants to kill me. Other than that, I'm peachy."
Jen smiled and went to her private stock of snack stuff and pulled out a bag of pretzels before opening the small cooler next to the cabinet and pulling out a bottled water. "Here's what you're going to do," she said to Kelly. "Have a snack, take a nap on the couch, and I'll make sure Jethro calls your friend. Don't worry. You'll be safe here."
Kelly sat on the couch and took the pretzel bag and bottled water. "Thanks, Jenny."
"I'll see you in the morning, Kelly," Jen promised as she started to pack up her things for the night. Downstairs, Jen stopped by Gibbs' desk and said, "Kelly's grabbing a snack and some sleep in my office. And you should call her friend—"
"Maddie," Gibbs finished. "I will. Good night, Jen."
"Good night, Jethro," Jen replied, heading for the elevator door. When it opened she found Dr. Donald Mallard who was also leaving for the night. "Ducky. Good to see you again."
"And you," Ducky replied as the doors closed. "Congratulations."
"Thank you," Jen said with a smile. "So how have you been?"
"You mean other than today?" Ducky asked. "Well…"
It seemed like Kelly had been asleep for hours but looking at the clock on the wall she saw that it had only been about an hour and a half. Leaving the office and heading downstairs she found Gerald—Ducky's former assistant—with McGee, Abby, and Gibbs.
"Dad?" Kelly asked, looking at her father's expression. "What's going on?"
"Ari has Ducky," McGee said, simply.
"Oh, God," Kelly sighed. "Can we just find the bastard and kill him? I'd like to go home at some point."
"We're working on it, Kel," Gibbs said, looking at her.
"Well, work harder," Kelly snapped as she crossed her arms. "I'm starting to feel like a prisoner here."
"I know," Gibbs sighed. "But until we get Ari I need you to stay here. I'm going to meet Tony at the Embassy Hotel."
"Um, Tony's at the Embesaro," Abby corrected, following Gibbs to the elevator.
"Then why did he say the Embassy?" Gibbs snapped.
"Cell phone garble?" Kelly suggested, a step behind Abby.
"All right, from now on, everyone is using phonetics like we did in the Corps," Gibbs ordered.
"Dad," Kelly said, stopping Gibbs before he hit the elevator button. When he looked at her, she said, "Say it. Please."
Gibbs met Kelly's eyes, dark brown and pleading. The old promise… the one he always told Shannon before he shipped out… "I will take care, Kelly," he promised, meaning it now more than ever. "I will come back safe."
Kelly felt tears in her eyes and she threw her arms around her father's neck. "I love you, Daddy."
"I love you, too, Kelly," Gibbs said, hugging her.
When she let go, Gibbs hit the down button on the elevator but as soon as the doors opened and he stepped in, he heard Abby say, "Um, Gulf-India-Bravo-Bravo-Sierra?" Stopping the doors before they closed he waited for Abby to go on. "Can I please go back to my lab? I'm flipping out up here with nothing to do."
"Okay," Gibbs conceded. "But don't leave—"
"Don't leave the building. I know," Abby replied. As the doors closed, she said, "Bravo-Yankee-Echo."
Kelly looked at the others and while she wanted to go with Abby, she also felt the sleep debt pulling at her. And while Jen's couch was tempting, Kelly didn't want to be alone.
As if sensing Kelly's struggle, Abby smiled and said, "Come on. You can sleep and I'll work on finding the bastard who killed Kate."
Kelly nodded. "Deal."
It was almost 1 in the morning when Gibbs finally returned to the squad room with Jen. The rain had let up for the time being and as the team gathered in the squad room, Kelly felt relieved that it was over.
When she finally got back to the apartment, Kelly went straight to the fridge and found the leftover Italian take out from a few days ago. Pulling it out, she piled some of everything on a plate and put it into the microwave before grabbing a soda.
"Everything okay?" Maddie asked, coming into the kitchen and hopping up to sit on the counter.
"I'm hungry, tired, and…" Kelly sighed. "Kate's funeral is tomorrow." When the microwave dinged, Kelly grabbed a fork and pulled the hot plate out and set it on the counter and started eating. "I plan on eating, sleeping like the dead, and then getting up and going back to NCIS."
Maddie hopped off the counter and said, "Give your dad my condolences. And, hey." Waiting until Kelly looked up, Maddie added, "You sure you're okay?"
"Fine," Kelly insisted. "Go back to bed. Sorry I woke you."
Maddie left the room and as Kelly continued eating, she couldn't shake the feeling in her gut that something was still off.
The rain started up again the next morning and Kelly slept almost until noon when Maddie knocked on her bedroom door.
"There's coffee on the counter," Maddie said to a groggy Kelly. "I've got class. You going to be okay?"
"Mmm-hmm," Kelly mumbled into her pillow. After a few minutes she heard the apartment door close and Maddie's car pull out of the drive.
"You know, Gibbs never sleeps in," Kate's voice said, bringing Kelly more awake.
"Dad's used to little sleep," Kelly yawned as she got up and went to the kitchen. Imagining Kate sitting at the kitchen table, she asked, "Why you, Kate? You were… You were my favorite. I wanted to be you."
"Sometimes bad things happen," Kate replied. "Nothing you can do to stop it."
"I miss you, Kate," Kellie said, pouring a cup of coffee and adding cream and sugar.
"And I'm going to miss you, Kelly," Kate said, quietly. "Wear that purple outfit. You look great in that."
Kelly sat down at the table at the chair Kate's ghost had occupied and before she took a sip of coffee, she started crying.
Indiana was bright and sunny as Kelly stood with Jen and the others, waiting for her father to show. As she walked up to Kate's coffin, Kelly remembered what she'd told Kate soon after the former Secret Service agent had joined NCIS. "Keep him safe, Agent Todd. He's all I have." Laying a rose on top of the coffin, Kelly said, quietly. "Thanks for saving him, Kate."
As Kelly stepped away from the burial site, she smiled as she saw her father coming up dressed in a black suit, a black strip across his NCIS badge. As Tony, McGee, Ducky, Jen, and Abby joined the two Gibbses, Jethro looped one arm with Kelly's and the other with Jen's, Abby walking next to them, a black parasol in one hand and a tape player in the other which was playing a jubilant jazz song.
As the NCIS team headed back home, Kelly wondered if life would ever be what it should have been.