Summary: A short story about Gibbs's daughter, Kelly. (Does anyone notice how my stories seem to keep getting shorter, btw?)

Disclaimer: If I owned NCIS, Kelly Gibbs wouldn't be dead. But I don't, so...

My first fanfic with Gibbs as the main character. Please review! They make me go all warm and fuzzy inside.

Time Capsule

The day his daughter Kelly was born, Leroy Jethro Gibbs decided that he was the luckiest man in the world. He could not imagine any other man having a wife more beautiful than his, or a daughter more perfect. As he held his new baby girl in his arms, looking down upon her reddish-tinged skin and tightly curled arms and legs, he knew that he would give the world for her.

A week later she started stretching her arms and legs, and six months later she sat up by herself. The first time Gibbs heard her call him "dada" he was overjoyed, but there was a slight pang in his heart when he realized that his baby girl was growing up too quickly. She would soon be talking and walking and running, and then she would no longer need him as much as she did at that moment.

On Kelly's 4th birthday, Gibbs gave her dog tags engraved with his and her names so that she would remember him whenever he was on tour. He had had them specially made for her; they were small and delicate just like she was. Kelly wore them around her neck and steadfastly refused to take them off for the rest of the year.

A month before she turned six, Gibbs was deployed to Panama. He returned not long after that, but he had missed his little girl turning six and that broke his heart. He could not help but wonder how many more birthdays he would have to miss; how many more memories he would have to sacrifice while he was away fighting for someone else's rights. And for the first time since he joined the Marine Corps, he felt the pain of having to choose between his country and his family.

Gibbs was there to see Kelly off on her first day of school. She was excited, and she had spent the previous night lying awake and thinking about the new adventures that school would bring. He was sad, because Kelly was now entering a world where he could not follow her.

Six days before Gibbs was to leave for Kuwait, Kelly and her best friend, Maddie, buried a time capsule. In it were their fondest memories, including the dog tags that Gibbs had given Kelly when she was four, and a letter that she had written to him. On the day of his departure, she told him that she would miss him. He promised her that he would come home. He did. But she did not.

When he heard the news that his beloved wife and daughter had died, Gibbs's heart almost stopped beating. At first he was in shock; then he grieved, and then he was consumed by an overwhelming rage. He took his revenge upon the man who had killed them. And then he put the past behind him and dedicated the rest of his life to catching criminals who hurt the loved ones of others.

On what would have been Kelly's 9th birthday, Gibbs took the time to grieve. It was another birthday that he would miss, not because he was not there but because she was not. He poured himself a glass of whisky and took to his basement to build a small model of a boat. When he finished it he immersed himself in work once again and never gave himself the time to grieve again.

Every year after that, he would build a model of a boat and dedicate it to her. Afterwards he would burn it and watch it settle into nothing but ashes. On her 27th birthday, he built an actual boat and named it after her. When it was complete he decided that it would be the last boat that he would build for her. He started working on toys to donate to the children instead.

Now, Kelly would be twenty-eight years old. She would be married and getting ready to have children of her own. Gibbs would be anticipating the joy of becoming a grandparent, with tiny bundles in his arms and youngsters clamouring for his attention. But all he had was a time capsule with two tiny dog tags and a letter with faded writing to remind him of what would never be.