Summary: Her perspective from the wall. From "Thing-a-thon VIII" atncis_shared on Live Journal
Prompt: Paula Cassidy: Bar tab

From her position on the wall, she could watch the various comings and goings of the bar.

She saw them come and celebrate at the end of a case.

She watched Tony bully Tim into doing his first body shot; though he certainly didn't look nearly as apprehensive when Abby volunteered her navel for the roll of the body part.

She watched Gibbs come in, order a beer, barely touch it, and head home, his mandatory appearance at the team-gathering officially made.

She watched Ducky and Ziva trade quips and share their interest in literature and history.

She watched when Langer died and Gibbs toasted his memory. She watched when Gibbs placed Langer on the wall next to her.

Paula watched the bar tab run sky high when the director died. She watched him down shot after shot, barely able to stagger towards the men's room. She watched, with as much relief as a photo could express, when the bar tender made the call each night, refusing to give Tony his keys. She watched when Ziva came and took him home, listening patiently to his drunken apologies for things he couldn't have controlled.

She watched as the two sat at the bar and each had a shot of tequila, both mourning and toasting simultaneously when they discussed their new rolls – hers back in Israel and his Afloat.

She watched as they rose from their barstools, fingers slowly tangling shyly together as they held hands – it was a desperate attempt to cling to what they knew and loved before their worlds flipped upside down.

She watched when he drank himself blind the following night, Ziva on her plane back to her life with Mossad.

She watched when Tim came and picked up his friend and offered words of comfort; telling him that it would be alright and that the team would figure it out together.

She watched Gibbs come in the next evening and pay off Tony's bar tab. She watched as he stopped in front of the photo-wall and he gave both she and Langer, and their fellow fallen brethren, a look of pride and honor.

She wished she could smile back. She wished she could tell him she wouldn't change anything about how she left the land of the living. She wished she could tell him that as much as he stopped to watch over the photos of his friends, she still watched over he and his team.