Saying goodbye

For one day out of the year Jethro Gibbs took a day off work and went to Stillwater without telling anyone. His father didn't even know he came down; this was something he had to do on his own, without any disruptions. The weather fitted his mood, dark and dreary. Rain lashed around him as he approached the gravesite, his eyes misting over. This visit was different however, this time he was saying goodbye to the past. For good this time.

Stopping, he kneeled down and caressed the tombstone closing his eyes as memories of the last days with his family overcame him. Tears prickled his lids as he opened his eyes, focused on the name on the tomb. "Shannon Gibbs" he sighed as he looked at the stone, her face appearing in his mind. Her bright eyes shone with love as she smiled at him, making him long for her even more. Turning his gaze away he looked at the next stone, "Kelly Gibbs" inscribed onto the white marble stone, an angel on top of it.

"I've met someone." He began in a gentle voice, a soft smile creasing his features as he placed both his hands on each stone, gaining energy from them.

"You'd like her. She's amazing, full of life and vitality. Her name is Abby and she's everything to me." he paused, his voice cracking slightly.

Closing his eyes he sighed again. This was harder than he thought. Thinking of Abby and her smile gave him strength; though he felt guilty for thinking of her while he was speaking to his late wife. That was why he was here though; he knew the only way to truly give himself to Abs was to say goodbye to his past. Ever since she had entered his life he knew there was something special about her. The way she lit up a room as she entered made him smile. It had taken him awhile to figure out he loved her, more than a friend. Sure they were close, but now that they had come out with their feelings they had learned more about each other. She knew he felt guilty for being with her and was willing to wait until he was ready before they took it to the next step.

"I need to let go Shannon. I can't love her and you. I know you want me to be happy and I am. I've never felt like this, not since you were here with me. I miss you sweetheart, more and more each day. Some days are easier than others, when I'm working a tough case. Thinking of you hurts so much and I know it hurts Abby too. I can't hurt her, I love her." He stopped, not noticing the tears now cascading down his face mingling with the rain as it continued to fall.

"You'll always be in my heart Shannon, never forget that. I'm making a new life with her and I want your blessing. You know I don't believe in God but I believe in you. Give me a sign that you're okay with this." He stopped closing his eyes as a wave of torment overcame him and his body wracked with quiet sobs.

The rain continued to fall, the dark clouds drifting over him. He opened his eyes and looked upwards, the rain dripping into his face and running onto his clothes. Suddenly, as if she could hear him the rain dwindled into a soft drizzle. He smiled softly, his tears stopping as he leaned his forehead against Shannons' grave and sighed.

"Thank you." he whispered softly, his eyes filling with fresh tears.

Standing up he bowed his head, closing his eyes and sending off a prayer to whoever was up there. Turning he glanced upwards again and watched as the dark dreary gray clouds dissipated slightly, turning white and fluffy. Clearing his throat he smiled as he opened his eyes and walked back to his car, thoughts of Abby in his mind. He felt whole again, as if the gashing wound in his chest finally sewed itself together. He felt lighter as well, a small bounce in his step as he stopped at his Charger opening the driver side door and slipping in. Picking up his phone he dialed Abbys' number, smiling as she picked up at the first ring.

"Gibbs!" She said happily.

He smiled, hearing the bounce in her even through the phone. "Hey Abs, you up for dinner tonight?" He asked, his voice back to normal.

She grinned over the phone. "Of course! Is everything okay?" She asked, concern slipping through her demeanor.

"Everything is fine Abs. Now anyway. I'm coming home, pick you up at 7?" He replied, his voice lush with gratitude.

Over the line he could hear her turn her machines off. "Sounds good to me." she stated "Jethro?" She asked a bit timidly.

Hearing her say his first name brought another smile to his face. "Yes Abby?" he replied calmly.

"I love you." she stated matter of factly.

"I love you too Abs." he said in the most honest of voices.

Finishing the call he turned the car on and drove away from the graveyard, knowing he'd visit when he'd need too. The pain he felt when he first came here was gone now, replaced with love, pure and simple for the one woman who had touched his heart. Abby was his heart and soul. The one who had brought him back from the pit of hell he had created for himself. He meant it when he said he was ready to start a new life. Pulling out the small blue box from his pocket he smiled, opening it to reveal the diamond ring within.