Disclaimer: I own neither NCIS nor Dark Angel.
Chapter 20: Epilog
Cale looked at his old boss and realized that Gibbs was getting old. The silver hair had made Gibbs look older than he was, when DiNozzo had first met him, but now the rest of him had caught up.
DiNozzo had started over when he'd changed his name to Cale. He'd started an entirely new life and had a rejuvenated body to go with it. Gibbs hadn't had just kept going, same life, same tasks, all in a harsher world than ever. It was amazing that Gibbs hadn't broken. Cale rather thought that his own success in surviving was largely influenced by Gibbs.
"When I left, I broke as many ties as I could, because I couldn't stand to remember or to care."
"I know." Gibbs would understand that. He wouldn't like it, Cale knew, but he would understand it. It was sentiment and devotion and love that survived that he had trouble understanding.
"I've gotten over that now."
"I can see that." Gibbs was clearly wondering where this was going. It was obvious that he thought Cale was talking about Max and the transgenics.
"I'll stay in contact this time. I'll let you know how events are working out."
Something in Gibbs' face cracked for just an instant. A moment of vulnerability hastily hidden again. Cale pretended he hadn't seen it.
Neither spoke for a moment. Before it could get too awkward—at which point Gibbs would either say something too harsh or simply walk away—Cale eased the situation. "You can give me advice and let me know how DC is reacting to the transgenics."
Gibbs leapt at the offer. Metaphorically, at least. "Sure."
Cale had just given him an excuse to stay in contact, something to start a conversation that had nothing to do with sentiment and feelings. Gibbs had to know that Cale had done it intentionally, but that was okay. It was still a viable excuse.
"I'll call you when I get back to DC."
"Have a good trip."
Neither of them really did good-byes, but the atmosphere was more relaxed now. With another nod, Gibbs turned and walked away. He didn't look back. Cale watched until the car was out of site and then returned to his own work. He'd hear from Gibbs again soon enough.
For now, though, he'd heard rumors of another bit of corruption in the local government that might need someone like Max to look into it. She said she might drop by in the morning and he wanted to have all the information ready.
There's always corruption, but he supposed it was merely a sign that humanity still lived.
He was glad of it.