AN: I know I don't usually add more after the new episodes air, but felt this is where this belonged. Enjoy.
Gibbs: There were no survivors.
"Are you alright?" Ducky approached his friend in the dim bull pen, well after hours.
Gibbs barely looked up. "Fine."
"If there was ever a time for you to be truthful….this would be it."
He not only looked up, but stood up fully. "You calling me a liar Duck?"
"No…simply one who avoids the truth. You are not fine…no one in their right mind would be 'fine' in a time like this."
"Guess I'm not in my right mind…"
"Not that sounds more like the truth."
He threw his hands out at his sides. "What do you want me to say Duck? I'm hurting? I'd rather not state the obvious."
"And why not?"
"No point to be honest about your feelings? You have lost someone you cared for Jethro…"
Ducky swallowed hard at the statement. "It does still hurt…doesn't it Jethro?"
"I'm tired Duck…thanks for the visit."
The ME stepped in his way for a moment. "Perhaps it would do you well to ask how I am feeling."
Gibbs face fell, his eyes fixating on the floor before looking up. "Don't ask questions I already know the answer to…"
Ducky shook his head in disagreement. "Because it's much like how you, yourself are feeling…like you've failed her somehow….Like you never expressed just how deeply you cared for her…it's because you're dying inside…just like me…"
He didn't respond.
Ducky locked onto his eyes. "I cannot grasp the depth of the pain you've experienced in your life…but I know the kind of man you are. And that man doesn't need to hide any longer…"
Gibbs stepped past him and was half way to the elevator when he turned back; a single tear forming in his eye. "Pain is pain…hidden or not."