Disclaimer: The characters of NCIS do not belong me and no money has been made.
Summary: Tony reflects on one of the worst aspects of the job.
Warnings/spoilers: No spoilers. This involves the death of an OC.
Note- This one isn't much. Just something that wouldn't leave me alone. This is my second story here and I just want to thank everyone for their incredible support of my first story. Thank you!
"We're going to catch the person that did this,"
She doesn't even look at me. I'm just the shadow in the corner, hovering over her cream colored sofa and glass knick-knacks, out of place in her home, displacing the safety and warmth she's built here. Gibbs is just as much an intruder as I am, but he's inserted himself into her home with ease. Blowing in like the wind and when we're gone she'll see that nothing has been disturbed and she'll wonder if we were even here at all except for the feeling we've left behind. Her house won't seem so clean. She'll pull on a sweater and live in layers for weeks, the warmth gone in our wake. This room will feel tainted to her and she won't ever really understand why.
There's a reason I've always passed this off to other people.
I watch her as she raises her blood-shot eyes from the floor and I can see the moment. The exact nano-second Gibbs' words register. I see the point in split second when she gets Gibbs isn't trying to placate or patronize or feed her a line she expects to hear. She can only nod in numb relief. He hasn't given her meaningless words. He's given her his oath.
And as much as I know what that means, really really means…as much as I know that Gibbs won't let us sleep or eat or piss without his permission; how Gibbs will growl and push and shove until we get the bastard…his promise of justice is only second best. Where were we when her marine needed us? Why are we offering justice now? Now?
Still, I watch her eyes. She's grateful. Grateful for Gibbs quiet resolve, gentle strength. I haven't said much. A few questions. A few observations. There's a photo of her and her husband beside a smokin' red 1997 corvette. She smiles and tells us how he'd surprised her with it. Tells us how pissed she'd been when she realized he'd used the money that had been set aside to remodel the kitchen. Then her face softens, remembering something private, something she won't tell us. Something too personal to share with anyone. She crumples then and I know she's innocent. My usual theory falls flat in my mind. Ziva will be thrilled. No, Sharla Tennyson isn't the bad guy here.
We leave with promises to keep in touch. To bring her justice. I push my shades on my face and pause before getting in the Charger and lean against the open door. I turn back to the little pale blue house with the white trim and pink roses. I don't know. I've watched way too many films and can't help the images that flood my mind. I see a marine in dress blues, his duffle slung over one shoulder and a riot of wildflowers clutched in his hand. I see the door burst open and Sharla racing out to meet him, tears of happiness streaming down her face. Not like the tears that are streaming now. The tears we've made her cry.
"DiNozzo!" To my credit, I don't jump at Gibbs' bark. I just settle down into the seat and close the door. And watch the house.
"She didn't do it," I murmur.
"Nope," Gibbs voice is just as quiet. I don't have to look to know his face is just as grim and set as mine. I'm glad the others aren't here. I don't feel like jokes. I don't feel like making idle chatter. I feel like apologizing.
Because a half hour ago, we arrived as the Chaplain was leaving. We became the proof. We gave his words validity. We made her unthinkable reality real and our very presence proves to her that her husband is never coming home. He's never going to make another stupid financial decision and then do something amazing to make it up to her. No more flowers. No more glass baubles from far away places to show he'd been thinking of her. No more kisses or inside jokes.
Only justice now.
Too little, too late.
We'll catch her husbands' killer.
It's who we are. What we do. We're the good guys. We catch the bad guys.
But I don't feel like the good guy right now.
Neither of us do.