Disclaimer: I do not own NCIS, its characters, or its scripts.
Spoilers: Judgment Day pt. 1 & 2
A/N: Ah! Sorry about the wait! And, sorry about the enormous amount of script in this chapter, but trust me, all of this is worth it because there is a part in this that will lead to something you've been waiting for, for a long time!
"Wait there, I'll come to you," Gibbs said, driving through desolate dusty streets to the diner.
He'd always thought it would be him to go first, out of everyone he knew. His job was dangerous, he was getting older, and someone was always out to kill him, or someone close to him.
Most others thought Ducky would go first, despite his youthful activity and lively chatter. They knew it in the back of their minds, but then there was Kate, and that crushed everyone. And now there's this...this proved all of that wrong.
Jenny was dead. But why? What was all of this for? Gibbs wondered if the thoughts that were going through his mind went through hers throughout this whole secret fiasco.
Probably not, she always knew what she was doing, what she wanted.
In a way, Jenny had been like him. She'd do anything to keep someone she knew safe, even if it meant her life, and she never stopped until it was done. But, why was this different?
Gibbs sighed as he remembered the look in Abby's eyes when he had told her that he was flying to California. The look on her face was that of a puppy dog.
"What happened? Is everyone okay?" She was obviously concerned. They were family, after all.
"Abbs, I'll call later. You just have to trust me now, okay?"
She nodded. He kissed her forehead and told her goodbye.
He finally reached the diner and pulled into the open space.
Tony and Ziva were walking out with boxes. No one said a word when they both looked at him.
He walked closer to them. "I said to wait."
"And I said not to," Leon Vance walked out of the diner and snapped off his gory red rubber gloves. It was enough to make anyone hurl. "This is my crime scene."
"You called Sec Nav, he called me."
Ziva and Tony looked at the ground in silence when Gibbs looked at them once more. Gibbs just continued into the diner.
"I'm sorry, Jethro," Vance said as Gibbs passed him.
When he walked into the diner, it was what he expected at any other crime scene. Glass jars with forensic evidence, body markers, blood spattered on the floor. It was so odd to look at it personally.
"Bodies were picked up last night," Leon said after giving Gibbs a moment. "They're flying to DC."
"Doctor Mallard will be handling the autopsies… First two shooters came through the front door, the other two came from over there." He pointed towards the back door. "She stood here," Vance stood in her place. "The first shooter never even had the chance to fire his gun. She shot two at him, in his shoulder and chest. She took heavy fire after that; one in her shoulder and in her arm. The second shooter went down there. She dropped to her knee and she fired three more times at one of the shooters from the back door. Which leaves the fourth shooter…We know how that ended," he finished. "She put up a hell of a fight."
"Not good enough," Gibbs sighed.
"She was outnumbered, five to one." Leon raised his eyebrow.
"I think you gotta check your math."
Vance explained the extra set of tire tracks and the possibility of a fifth shooter and told him to oversee his investigation while he flew back to DC with the bodies.
After Vance drove off, Gibbs told DiNozzo to oversee the investigation. Besides, he had someone to meet.
"Vance knows someone else was there," Gibbs informed Mike after he pulled into the gas station they had agreed to meet at.
"I'm not the only one with a problem. Jenny died protecting someone."
Gibbs was intrigued, but it didn't show too much on his face. "Who?"
Mike put his hands in his pockets and looked away for a second. "…You."
"Call him again!" Abby ordered McGee anxiously. The Caf-Pow! in her hand wasn't helping her hyper activity very much, and neither was knowing that Gibbs, Tony and Ziva were across the country doing something she didn't know about.
"I already left Tony five messages."
She stopped pacing in front of his desk. "Why'd you call Ziva more than you called Tony?"
He just looked at her strangely. "Uhh-"
"Right, not important. What's important is that we remain calm."
"I am calm," he said, throwing his arms up in defeat.
"Don't you care about your friends?"
"I just said- never mind!"
"Tony and Ziva aren't answering their cells and Gibbs gets on a plane to California out of the blue. Something is wrong, I can feel it!" She didn't like the feeling. She had a knot in her stomach that reminded her of the blast before Gibbs had gone to Mexico.
"Abby, if something bad happened, I'm sure we would have-" Tim's computer beeps. "-heard by now."
"What is it?" Abby asked urgently.
"An email from Tony."
"Let me see…I can't look!" She covers up her eyes.
McGee gives her a strange look, but continues to type. "Photos. Tire prints. Tony wants me to find out what car they came from."
"That's it? They're working a case?"
"Am I interrupting something?" Ducky walked in with his coat on, as he'd probably just gotten into the building.
"Just Abby's nervous breakdown."
"Oh, I'm sure everyone is fine," Ducky assured Abby. He moved closer to her. "Do you have any reason to believe otherwise?"
"Well Tony just emailed me, it looks like they started working some kind of case."
"There's your answer, Abby. They're working on a case." He assured her again with a pat on her arm. "Common courtesy is the first casualty in a Jethro war. "
Ducky tried to exit as his phone started ringing. Curious, Abby moved directly in front of him to block his way. "Who is it?"
Ducky took out his phone and showed it to her. Gibbs. She instinctively tried to grab it from him, but he moved his hand away. "Ah ah ah, it's for me." She smiled at him.
"Jethro," he answered, getting some privacy by walking towards the other side of the bullpen.
Doctor Mallard waited for Gibbs, thinking he was going to say something. "Jethro, I know I usually dominate the conversation, but since you called me-"
"Oh, dear," he sighed. "I…I can't believe it happened so soon, I-"
[She was murdered, firefight.]
"Tony and Ziva?"
[Not involved.] He knew how to say something important with few words.
"What can I do?"
[Five bodies, on their way.] But Gibbs wasn't much of a talker to begin with, anyway.
"I assume one of them is-"
[Yeah…Tell McGee, tell Abbs. I'll need them.] That was no lie.
[Yeah, I know Duck.]
Too little, too late.
The doctor turned around with a grave expression.
"Who?" McGee asked. It didn't even sound like a question.
Abby gasped, putting her hands over her mouth, which was agape.
Little did she know, this long chain of events was destiny.
Gibbs entered the bar and grill that he was meeting Mike at. He immediately spotted Franks sitting with his arms resting on the table, a beer beside them.
He sat down on the stool beside his long time mentor. "Drinking this early?" Gibbs said.
"It's five-o-clock somewhere," Franks said as he took another swig.
"Tell me everything," Gibbs told him simply. Mike knew exactly what he meant.
"She called me a week ago," he began, "about you and Abby's party. I mean, I woulda flew in for that, but…she said she needed me for something else anyway, so I might as well make myself useful for the time being," he quoted. "She said she needed some help from someone…outside the agency."
"Another one of her ops."
"One of yours. Europe."
"I spent a lot of time in Europe, Mike."
"She wasn't specific…What I tell you about leavin loose ends?" He whispered harshly.
"Not to. We didn't."
"Well, you screwed the pooch somewhere. Decker's cover was blown, they found him, made it look like a heart attack."
"Decker's funeral. There was a guy named Viggo looked for a man named Oshimyta."
Gibbs visibly tensed.
"Relax, probie. Classified went out the window days ago…I know Oshimyta was the code you used if your cover was compromised."
"In Paris, nine years ago."
"Yeah, well Decker resurrected it. When they found him, instead of giving you up, he sent you a warning and bought you guys some time. She knew what she was getting into. Her last stand was to protect you."
"Who protected her, Mike? What happened?"
"I was outback. I saw them going in the side door…too late." He recalled everything vividly. He'd shot the bodies on the ground, in case any of them were alive. Some were. "I did what I could."
"Yeah. You always do."
They were quite for a time before Gibbs spoke.
"We left Paris clean."
"Yeah, Jenny told me, and I might have bought it, except there were three agents on that op, and two are dead. The op? How many?"
"One each," Gibbs told him.
"Did you verify the kill? Her kill?"
"Jen was a pro."
"What about Decker? I heard he had a thing for the ladies. Maybe he was compromised."
"We got out clean."
"Jenny knew something you didn't, probie. And so did Decker. He knew this might not be over; he left an insurance policy." Franks pulled a pen out of his pocket and took a napkin from a nearby dispenser. "The numbers were…" He wrote them down, almost without having to think about it.
"Coded in photos. That's how we did it back then."
"We burned the original. That's the only copy." He slid the napkin across the tabletop to Gibbs.
"I'll let you know."
"You need me on this one probie," Mike told him sternly. "Viggo was just a hired gun. There's someone else out there."
"It's not your fight, Mike. Vance is looking for you, so go back to Mexico. Give my goddaughter a hug for me."
Franks was about to get up and make a hasty exit, but he remembered what Jenny wanted him to tell Gibbs, after she died her self-predicted death, and he sat back down.
"What, now, Mike?" Gibbs asked, emotionally exhausted and stressed.
"Abby, I'm almost done here, where's that next batch," McGee said in Abby's lab, typing quickly on the keyboard.
"Coming," Abby addressed him tearfully. She walked over to the shelves by her mass spec that contained tire track model comparison templates.
After picking all of them out, she failed at stifling a few sniffles as she walked to McGee again. Halfway there, she dropped the discs. With another sniffled or two, she bent down to pick them up, but she couldn't ignore this anymore.
Tears were building in her eyes and she decided just to let it all out.
McGee noticed this and bent down next to her to retrieve the CD's. "It's okay, Abby, it's okay."
She looked up at him with tears streaming down her face. "No. It's not…It never is." Abby tried to compose herself. "Come on," she said, trying to ignore the crack in her voice. "We have work to do." She took the discs from him and inserted one into her computer.
Tim wasn't so sure if she was suitable to work, but this was Abby after all.
She'd come around. Right?
Nevertheless, he continued to work alongside her.
A few moments of silence passed as the old friends adjusted to the turn their conversation had taken.
"Jenny…She wanted me to tell you something. Something else. It's very important, gunny. So listen up."
Gibbs looked over. He expected to hear some encoded warning for him that was a message from Jenny. That seemed to be all he was hearing today. "…What?"
"This could be hard for you to hear." Hell, even Franks' insides were rolling just at the thought of Gibbs' reaction.
It couldn't possibly get any worse anyway. "Hit me," Gibbs said stirring the water the waitress had brought to him earlier.
"Jenny told me she still had feelings for you, that she was still in love with you." Mike saw Gibbs sigh. He looked distressed and torn. "And she's had her suspicions about you, Abby, and Annabelle. She had the FBI run a test on the down low."
Mike was mildly agitated by the interruption. "A DNA comparison of Anna's DNA and yours."
"What?" He tried to keep his voice quiet.
He ignored him. "A perfect match. Ninety-nine-point-nine percent chance you're related. It's not even a chance. She figured that neither of you recovered your memories after the accidents you were both in."
Gibbs was completely, utterly silent. Speechless for a minute, until he decided to ask the questions that he was asking himself.
"How…..How could I not know? I could have been a real father to Anna, a real…" What was he going to say about Abby? Husband? Was he going mad?
"Now, probie. You listen here, don't you think of it that way, don't you dwell on the past. It's not like you were never there for her."
"I'm sure she knew you loved her, even then, probie. Don't beat yourself up over what could have been! You have so much time, gunny! Make up for yesterday's mistakes by doing what's right, and do it right now! You were always there for that woman and your baby, even though you didn't know she was your own. You're all living together! You're already a family! You just didn't see it until someone told you where to look."
"I...I'm a father."
The older man gave him a small smile as he took a sip of his drink. "Congratulations. But, If I'm right, I don't think you ever stopped."
Despite everything that happened, Gibbs smiled too. He saw the world in a different light now. He realized that Ducky was right about picking up that looking glass and seeing for yourself what was on the other side.
But he just needed to remember.
"You my dear were a woman who always knew what she wanted; a trait which some may have seen as mere careerism rather than the true sense of duty I know carried you. That's why I can't help wondering if your death too was on your terms," Ducky recited, getting closer to the body bag that contained his dear friend and colleague.
He unzipped the bag and sighed. "Mister Palmer."
The younger man walked over to him and flushed seeing the person in the body bag was not Jenny. "Oh, I'm sorry." He pointed to another bag. "I must have…" He trailed off as he saw the doctor walk closer to the bag wasn't really paying any attention to him.
Ducky and Jimmy were silent as they watched Gibbs walk into the room. Jimmy sniffed and went off to look over some of his notes on the far side of the room.
Gibbs approached the bag that they all knew held Jenny's body. He slid his hand across the bag.
He could feel her.
For a split second, it felt as if she was standing beside him. He thought he felt a breeze.
"She was dying, Jethro," Ducky said. Gibbs barely looked up. "She had a malignant brain tumor in her cerebral hemisphere and…" He stopped for a moment to evaluate the situation. "She knew the deterioration would be rapid, debilitating pain, loss of motor skills…As difficult as this is to say, this may have been more merciful."
He remembered Paris, tangled sheets and bodies.
They could have started over. Jenny still loved him.
What did he do?
'I'm sorry, Jen,' he thought
But why? Why exactly was he sorry?
He did not kill her, and yet… he was sorry.
He slid the zipper down the bag half way.
He left without a word.
"I've barely had a chance to finish unpacking this stuff, Gibbs, let alone processing it," Abby told him in her lab as she nearly dug a trail in the floor pacing in her Doc Martens. She carried evidence back and forth and Gibbs watched her. "I don't have anything for you."
"I will. And it'll be my best work." Her voice still carried its usual beautiful rasp, but it also contained the roughness of someone who'd been crying.
"Always is, Abbs."
"It's different this time; this time it's for the director. I want my very best work…" She reached the evidence box that contained Jenny's bloodstained clothing. Abby softly touched the blue blouse that had been worn by Jenny only the day before. She solemnly placed it back into the box.
He heard her voice crack.
She sighed as a tear fell down her face. "Oh, Gibbs," she said sadly, turning around for a hug that Gibbs was ready to share with her.
"It's okay," Gibbs soothed as he held her securely in his arms and rubbed his hand down her back.
Thoughts were spinning in his mind. Gibbs had an on and off feeling of severe dizziness. Of all these thoughts and feelings, one thing kept returning to his brain.
This woman standing before him was his best friend, and the mother of his child.
Why couldn't he remember? Why?
He knew he was Anna's father and apparently Abby's lover at some point, he knew that. He could practically see it.
But he couldn't feel it. He couldn't remember it.
All of the times he would dream of her, have thoughts about her…Gibbs could not fathom that all of these imaginings were true.
She eventually pulled away, wanting to vent her feelings to him, and pulling him out of his reverie. "She was always such a snappy dresser, you know?" Abby recalled, somewhat irrelevantly. "Classy…I-I never told her that. Why didn't I tell her that? She would have liked that, she would have smiled…You can't wait with stuff like that, because you never know what's gonna happen." Abby looked at him. "I like the way you dress, Gibbs. It's masculine, and spruce, always with a jacket."
Even with all that had happened, with everything seeming to be falling apart without return…He smiled.
"See? Even you smiled." She stared happily at him for a moment. Gibbs took a shaky breath.
Tony walked through the door of the lab. "And Tony, you're business, but after-hours, it's nice." She gave him a hug.
"Ziva, you kick ass and you look so good doing it," she said, giving the Mossad agent a hug as well as she walked through the door.
"McGee." She couldn't think of anything to tell him. "Aw, McGee." She hugged him too.
Tony was still sobered. "Boss-"
"It's not your fault, only one thing to be concerned about," Gibbs said, his mind on fire with thoughts about everything and nothing.
Ziva's eyes narrowed with the need for vengeance and finished Gibbs' sentence for him. "Finding the director's killer."