A/N: Not entirely happy with the end of this one, either. Still trying to work on my conclusions :/
Disclaimer: I do not own the song or the characters in this story. I make no profit from my little stories. My only gain is amusement.
Sunny days seem to hurt the most
I wear the pain like a heavy coat
I feel you everywhere I go
I see your smile, I see your face
I hear you laughing in the rain
I still can't believe you're gone
It ain't fair you died too young
Like a story that had just begun
But death tore the pages all away
God knows how I miss you
All the hell that I've been through
Just knowing no one could take your place
Sometimes I wonder who you'd be today
- "Who You'd Be Today" by Kenny Chesney
Leroy Jethro Gibbs had gone to get coffee. It was late spring and everything was bright and cheerful outside and stuffy and orange inside. He was in a good mood. They had wrapped up a case the day before, and his agents were almost done with their paperwork. It was Friday and it looked like they'd all get to leave at a reasonable hour. He had a hot date for the weekend with a beautiful bottle of Bourbon and a set of woodworking tools. He'd probably do a little yard work, and maybe give his truck a good hand washing. His team was not on call, and he didn't plan on answering his phone for anything until Monday morning.
He was coming around the corner of the NCIS building, cup of coffee in his hand, when the little girl ran into him. She couldn't have been any older than seven or eight, and as she bounced off him, she looked up with big, startled blue eyes. A long brown ponytail swung behind her, and Gibbs' felt his heart jump up into his throat for a moment.
He thought of his baby girl on holidays and her birthday, of course. He thought of her at every happy event, every sad moment. She was never far from his thoughts. Sunny days were the worst. They reminded him of that last day with her, watching her little arms reach out for him as he drove away. And, of course, he had met hundreds of little blue eyed, brown haired girls in the years since Kelly had been gone. But something about this one crashing into him so suddenly, out of nowhere, felt a bit like a punch to the gut.
He remembered the time he had caught Shannon standing in their bedroom, his clothes thrown all over the bed. She was wearing one of his t-shirts and looking at herself in the mirror. He leaned in the doorway with an eyebrow raised, and she scowled at him in the mirror.
"None of mine fit so you'll just have to share," she told him matter-of-factly. He laughed and came over to wrap his arms around her from behind. His hands rested on the round, swollen bump that was their child and he kissed the back of her neck.
"What's mine is yours," he told her brightly and she smiled. She turned in his arms to kiss him on the nose and his smile got bigger.
"Our baby has a name." He raised his eyebrows at her again. They had been discussing names for a few weeks now, but she hadn't been able to make up her mind. She had insisted from the beginning that they were having a girl, and he didn't doubt her. He never doubted her.
"Yes," She took his hand to press it against her belly, above her navel. The baby kicked and she grinned. "Her name is Kelly. Kelly Gibbs."
He looked thoughtful for a moment and then nodded. "Kelly. I like that…"
And of course their baby had been a girl, just like Shannon predicted. A beautiful little girl with the most beautiful blue eyes he had ever seen. They weren't his shade of blue, but her mother's, and he kept their picture with him when he had to be away from them so that he could pull it out and look at those eyes in tandem whenever he missed them.
He remembered other times, on weekends, when Kelly would climb into their bed and lay between them. He would try to send her back to her own bed, but Shannon would always overrule him and their daughter would stay, smiling eyes looking at her Daddy in the dark. He never really put up much of a fight. He liked waking up with her little head nestled against his chest. He'd wake her up quietly in the morning and they'd go downstairs and make breakfast for Mommy. Raspberry Rumtart and G.I. Joe would sit on the kitchen counter, watching them get flour all over the kitchen and each other as they made pancakes.
After they'd died he kept their pictures away in a box, in a room he could no longer sleep in. Not without them.
And he remembered the last weekend he had been home with them. Shannon silently sulking that he had to leave, Kelly trying to spend every waking second with him before he was gone.
"Daddy, watch me do a cartwheel!"
"Daddy, play chutes and ladders with me!"
"Daddy, let's have a picnic!"
"Daddy, guess what I'm going to be when I grow up!"
"Daddy, what if you don't come home?"
That last question, asked tearfully as he tucked her into bed. Shannon leaned in the doorway, choked up. She wasn't really upset with him, she was a marine wife. She knew the drill when she married him. But she still didn't want him to go, and he knew that it broke her heart as much as it did his when Kelly asked questions like that.
"Of course I'll come home. You can cross every day off on your calendar, and before you know it I'll be home." He picked up her little hand and kissed her knuckles. "We'll be playing chutes and ladders and having picnics again before your birthday. Promise."
That was the last time her ever tucked her in. The next morning she had chased his truck down the driveway, begging him not to go. He watched his family in the rearview mirror, a tearful Shannon finally grabbing Kelly around the waist and holding her tight so she didn't run out into the road. He knew that they were imagining what their life would be like if they had to live it without him.
Unfortunately he had never fathomed having to live his without them.
He was snapped back into the present by a woman running up to them.
"Chloe! Are you alright, sir? I'm so sorry. Chloe, did you apologize?" She turned from her daughter to Gibbs, then back to her daughter. The little girl shook her head, mumbling a small "Sorry."
"It's alright" Gibbs nodded and the woman apologized again before putting a hand to the girl's shoulder, steering her away.
Gibbs stood there for a minute, tipping back his coffee in thought. It wasn't just little girls that reminded him of Kelly. Sometimes it was young women. He wondered if Kelly would have worn her hair like that one, if Kelly would've dressed like that one. If she would be working some job she loved, if she'd be married by now, if she would've given him grandchildren.
He looked up at the cloudless sky and sighed a little. There were so many things he wished he could say to her. He wondered if there was anything on earth he wouldn't do to be able to kiss her goodnight one more time.
Abby was standing at her computer, headphones on her ears, dancing around her lab. She didn't hear the elevator, and jumped a little when she felt the boss' hand on her arm. She pulled the headphones off with a smile.
"Gibbs! What are you doing down here? Do you have a case?" She asked curiously.
"Nope." He studied her face for a moment and then cupped one cheek, placing a small kiss on the other before letting his hand drop. She raised an eyebrow.
"What was that for?"
"Nothing." He smiled and headed for her door, calling over his shoulder. "Leave early and go home, Abs. I'll see you Monday. Goodnight."
Abby would never replace Kelly, but he still wanted to make sure that he never took it for granted that she knew that he loved her.