At Life's End –Descent into Darkness.

Spoilers: S6 episodes Last Man Standing, Cloak and Dagger.

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters in this story; they remain the property of Bellisario. No infringement of copyright is intended.

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We're in Adam's Tavern, I'm making the drop. I plead with Gibbs to let me go and find Amanda but instead, he starts to search through the menus for Domino.

He doesn't find it...it was never there!

Suddenly he goes very still and it's then that he realizes that Bankston is the weatherman.

He turns slowly, scanning the crowd and sees Bankston standing behind me. Gibbs reaches for his gun, but Bankston fires first and grabs me in a choke hold. I'm so scared!

All around us, people are screaming as panic erupts in the bar but strangely, I can't hear them; my whole attention is on Gibbs.

Bankston forces me out the door and into the street. A city bus is stopped nearby; passengers are alighting, unaware of the drama that's unfolding. He drags me over to it, waves his gun at the driver and tells him to drive. The passengers start to scream and duck behind seats, looking for cover. He drags me to the rear of the bus as Gibbs stumbles out of the Tavern.

It looks like we'll get away but Gibbs shoots the tyre out and the bus lurches to a stop.

Then Gibbs is on the bus and Bankston is trying, desperately, to kick open the side door. We make eye contact. I try to tell him with my eyes that I am sorry, that I never meant for this to happen.

Through my earpiece, I hear McGee confirm that they've found Amanda, that she's safe! I see my chance, with all my strength I push his arms up and grab for his gun.

We struggle; the gun goes off, shattering a window where a young girl cowers below.

I look at Gibbs; I mouth the words, 'Do it'. I see that he understands, but he doesn't want to do it and then…I see a look of regret on his face. I nod slowly, trusting him, telling him that it's alright...and he takes the shot.

Bang!

There's a flash from Gibbs' gun and I feel the impact as the first bullet rips through my chest. It hurts so much!

I see my parents when they first bring Amanda home; I remember her first day at school.

I remember her asking me why I am crying; why were the Police here and when are Mommy and Daddy coming home.

I remember Amanda crying herself to sleep for weeks after our parents were killed.

I remember graduating from Harvard Law and my first day at NCIS.

Bang!

As though from a great distance, I can hear screaming but then I'm slammed backwards against Bankston as the second bullet passes through my heart,

I remember my first boyfriend; my first kiss; the time my parents grounded me for a month when I was late for my curfew.

I remember the first time I was with Jimmy, all our sneaking around. It was exciting, daring. It's a wonder we didn't get caught. I'm glad I didn't put name tags on my clothes like I did on Amanda's. I remember the last time I was with Jimmy, when he told me he didn't want to see me anymore, the hurt in his eyes. He said he was O.K. but I could see that he wasn't.

I remember the torment of sitting alone at night, wondering if I would ever see Amanda again, waiting for the phone call with the next lot of instructions and the threat of harm to Amanda if I was foolish enough to get caught.

I feel guilt for Langer, why did he have to be so nosy! It was bad enough with one murder on my hands, but because of his interfering I had to eliminate him too or else Gibbs and Vance would know I was the mole and I'd never get Amanda back.

Bang!

Again I feel the sharp impact as the third bullet penetrates my lung.

I remember the times that I held my breath so long I thought I would pass out.......

The first time I went undercover as the sister of an illegal immigrant forced into the sex trade, when my cover was blown I thought I was going to die.

When I was in Vargo's trailer, he was sleeping. I knocked something over in the dark and I thought he would wake up. The thought that I had to kill him in cold blood made me sick to the stomach.

I remembered the abject terror I felt, the dread of being discovered when the Director made us line up and hold out our hands so they could be tested for isotope. As he walked along the line toward me, my heart thumped so loudly in my chest that I was sure they must all hear it. It was all I could do to act normally when they escorted Abby away I rushed upstairs to the ladies room and scrubbed my hands until they bled.

Gradually my vision begins to clear, it's quiet now, just a soft whimpering from the girl in the back row.

The bullets that tore through my chest, continued into Bankston. I'm glad. I feel his body slump against me and we slowly collapse to the floor.

A strange calm has come over me; an acceptance of sorts.

Somehow...I knew it would end this way.

Conspiracy to murder, treason, sedition...no, this was right, this was justice.

I have so many regrets.

I can see Jimmy's smiling face…how I wish that things had been different.

Amanda. Who will look after her now?

Through a kind of haze I see Agent Gibbs lean down to check my pulse and then… there was nothing.

My life had turned into a living hell, and now it's over.

The End

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