A/N At the end of this chapter you're going to be like, huh! But it'll be explained in the next chapter so please understand. Thanks for reading :)
You will make a decision. Sometimes you will be right, but sometimes you will be wrong. When you are wrong you will have made a mistake. You will learn to live with it. It will hurt and sometimes you will think the weight of the consequences will crush you but you will survive. And as the days go by, the weight will become bearable until one day, there will be moments you forget.
However, the moment you made the decision will never fade. You will look into the night and wonder if you could have made a different choice. You will fall asleep only to wake up with a start covered in your own sweat, the moment of your action as vivid as if it happened yesterday.
And when you wake up you will hate the God you know longer believe in and curse Fate for her cruelty. But as years pass, and the nights continue, and you watch yourself in that single moment that now lasts for an eternity, you will come to realize. What happened was not God's, nor Fate's fault.
It was yours.
Gibbs was going to kill him.
It was pure and simple, like how the sky was blue. There was no inner turmoil, no questioning, no doubts. The path was laid, simple with a goal to light the way and Gibbs intended on following that path.
He was going to kill the son of a bastard who shot the little girl.
"Sergeant," Gibbs' voice was unrecognizable with every syllable forced through tightly clenched teeth. The man whom Gibbs called, a strong built man whose posture was slackened, snapped up with a start. The hazel eyes were wild and out of focus even after they met the piercing blue eyes of the single man who was standing before him. Instead of answering, however, he simple pulled the small bundle in his arms closer to his chest not bothering to swallow the low groan. The normally cool steel of Gibbs' SIG was clammy from his tight grip but Gibbs could not find the strength to slacken his grip so simply asked. "Who?"
The answer came slowly, spitted out with a mixture of hostility and aguish.
"You…You promised…" Sergeant Daniel Cohen croaked as he hugged the small body tighter and swayed slowly in the rhythm of a lullaby he used to sing for his little girl. His soft accusation made the lead agent flinch visibly but he took no heed. The Sergeant continued his eyes on the agent but never really looking at the man. "That you'd save her…You, promised."
The plan was carefully planned; NCIS would slip inside and find the little girl while DEA blocked off all exits and went after the drug dealers. When Cohen disappeared thirty minutes ago NCIS and DEA's operation went south before it even began. He was a vital informant of their side. The Sergeant had agreed to confess his connection to the rapidly growing drug organization in exchange for full guarantee that NCIS ensured the safety of his only child. NCIS and DEA needed his cooperation for his confession included the names of major informants and key members of the group, information that would lead to the elimination of the seed of greater evil.
Only an hour ago, Gibbs had told the Marine that he would bring Amanda, the little girl home. He had gripped the Cohen's shoulders and told the father to hold on for if Gibbs had to lay his life down in the process he would and if anything happened he would make whoever it was pay.
His words still stood.
The clouded confusion that reflected off the hazel eyes cleared when Gibbs took a step closer. Cohen blinked twice. Gibbs pressed for the third time, using only one word because he could not trust himself to say more.
The reply came a few moments later with a calmness that chilled Gibbs to the bone.
Cohen brushed his lips against his dead child's forehead but Gibbs realized the man was looking elsewhere. The agent followed the gaze and found the northwest exit of the warehouse and nodded remembering.
Gibbs had noticed a man wearing the organization's custom navy blue jacket dash out of the exit when the agent entered through the south entrance. Gibbs had instinctively given chase but skidded to a stop just as quickly when he noticed a Marine uniform slumped against the wall to his left.
"He…" Daniel Cohen broke his gaze from the exit and stared up at the older man. In the same detached tone he confirmed Gibbs' suspicion. "He killed her."
That was all Gibbs needed.
"I'll bring him down."
The lead agent murmured his promise as he passed the mourning father who had lowered his head as if in prayer.
That promise was one of the reasons Gibbs was going to kill that son of a bastard.
Another reason, Gibbs thought as he secured his surroundings and slipped out of the warehouse, was perhaps because he was alone. McGee and David were covering the eastern part of the port whereas Agent Samantha Conzett and Evan Hawke headed north. Gibbs went alone and it was against protocol but with a whole port to search, DEA still on their way, and a child missing, nobody could argue against Gibbs' call.
At times like this Gibbs wished Tony hadn't left for Italy.
The leave was inevitable. The kid needed the month vacation after the Benoit disaster and Gibbs was pleased that his agent finally chose to get the rest he needed. With an agent short Gibbs team handled cold cases and had to put up with temporary agents but there wasn't a word of complaint. Even if it meant their share of action was limited to helping other MCRTs with their cases like now, his team took whatever they had to if it gave their senior field agent time to get back on his feet.
Though now, Gibbs honestly wished Tony was beside him.
Without the Italian there wasn't anything to act as a buffer between Gibbs and his own emotions. There wasn't anybody Gibbs had to look after, to worry about. There wasn't anybody to remind Gibbs that he simply wasn't allowed to throw his career away by chasing after a lowly drug dealer with the intent to kill.
Tony was gone, having crossed the Atlantics nearly three weeks ago.
There was nobody to stop Gibbs from killing that son of a bastard.
Gibbs glanced up at sky and frowned at the turn of weather. The bright blue faded away and left a pale grey that was rapidly becoming dense in shade; a storm was on its way.
However, before he could worry about the oncoming rain, three shots shattered harshly through the air. With the swiftness that his training demanded, Gibbs didn't pause to flatten himself against the steel containers as he made his way towards the sound. The gun fight had to be between members of the organization; Gibbs was sure no agent could have made it this deep within the port this quickly. If there was an internal affair it would work to his advantage for they would be distracted. The ex-marine treaded closer to the source of the sound, from behind the dark red container that stood out against its dark green neighbors.
Gibbs paused at the corner of the red container, taking a deep breath as he got a glimpse of the scene at the end of the corner. There had been several men but as far as Gibbs could tell, there was only one man standing. He was the man Gibbs had seen earlier.
Unfortunately, the drug dealer noticed Gibbs at almost the same time and started violently, bringing the gun that had been hanging limply from his side, up to his shoulder. No longer bothering for discretion, Gibbs stepped into view with his SIG raised.
Neither pulled the trigger.
"You're… not going to announce yourself?"
The drug dealer asked weakly when the silence stretched into minutes of nothing but tense waiting. The man's eyes flickered to the white letters on Gibbs dark cap before returning to the blue eyes. There was understanding.
"You're here to kill me."
Gibbs wasn't here as an NCIS agent. He was here as a man who knew the blind pain of losing the one being whose birth made every bitter point of his life worth it.
"You killed her."
Gibbs said instead, spitting out every word with angry disgust.
"I…" The man, to Gibbs' surprise, lowered his gun allowing it to hang loosely by his side. Gibbs tensed, slightly confused, as he searched the surroundings but he could not find the man's back up. The four men who lied at their feet were dead and there was not a single living soul in sight. The drug dealer slowly took a step back, one after another until his shoulder was leaning against the steel container. The movement seemed to have cost him greatly for the man paled as he clutched his side with his free hand. He stared at the blood that gushed from his wound and dripped to the ground. "I… watched her die."
Gibbs involuntarily took a step forward as he let out a snarl of a wounded animal. His fury burned but his arms were steady and if he pulled the trigger, his aim would be true.
But he did not pull the trigger.
You're not going to shoot him Boss.
Gibbs could imagine his senior field agent tell him. Tony would look at him with his head tilted as he told Gibbs in an almost haughty matter-of-fact way. Gibbs would retort with a sarcastic remark and that would be the beginning of their bantering.
Well DiNozzo, I have a gun pointed at his head. I think I'm pretty close to shooting him.
You're not going to pull the trigger.
Why the hell are you acting as my conscious DiNozzo?
I'm not acting as your conscious Boss. I am your conscious.
You flatter youself Tony.
We're in your head right now. Technically, you're flattering me and stop side tracking me Boss. As your conscious it is my job to slap some sense into you when you're unable to make rational decisions due to inner turmoil. It's my job to tell you exactly what you don't want to but need to hear.
A banter Tony somehow always won.
Amanda is not Kelly Boss.
Gibbs gritted his teeth as he felt himself loosen his grip on his weapon. He stared at the dying man before him but at the same time he could see his agent at the edge of his vision.
I know Amanda's not Kelly.
No actually you don't. You looked at Amanda's picture and you saw Kelly. Even now, you saw Amanda in the Sergeant's arms but you're thinking of Kelly.
He killed the little girl Tony. I can't just let him walk.
He's not in the state to walk anywhere Boss. Look at the amount of blood dripping at his feet. He's dying. You're not going to shoot a dying man.
I'll be putting the guy out of his misery.
You're no murderer.
….Yes I am Tony.
I know what you're thinking of but you're wrong. You weren't a murderer.
You were a father.
...Is there a difference?
You kill this guy, and there won't be.
Gibbs took a deep breath as he flexed his fingers on his gun, slowly releasing his tight grip on the trigger. It was surprisingly easier than before.
"NCIS!" Gibbs finally barked to the man who was slumped against the red steel wall, barely standing. "Drop your weapon!"
However the man did not comply. He simply straightened up, leaning a hand against the container to keep his balance. The blood and grim on his features made it almost impossible to see the face beneath, but his eyebrows met in a form of grimace.
"Know… what happens…."
The words came broken, just like the man saying them. Gibbs hesitated, not sure whether the words were meant for his ears; the man was staring somewhere above his shoulder; he was delirious. It was not a very surprising condition for a man in his state but Gibbs watched as the man fought for conscious to continue.
"…All….my…never…." The man's lips curled slowly, into a gentle smile. His gaze moved to the blue eyes, and continued in a voice, suddenly stronger than before.
"But, since you love me too-"
The words were cut off by two sharp cracks that rang through the clouds above.
Gibbs blinked twice, before letting out a sigh.
The drug dealer had suddenly snapped his gun up and Gibbs had responded like the marine and agent he was. Double tapped the man to the chest and it was over.
Despite the fact that he was still in the middle of danger, Gibbs felt a wave of fatigue wash over him. He was getting to old for this, Gibbs shook his head as he approached the drug dealer he had shot. The man had left a ghastly trail of blood on container but the wall itself was a dark red and so the blood was barely visible. With his gun still in hand, Gibbs kicked the gun out of the man's reach and waited.
The man did not move.
Feeling somewhat weary, Gibbs crouched down and reached for the man's neck to check for a pulse. The crack of the previous shots were still ringing in his ears and Gibbs was moving out of habit more than anything but he collected himself when his eyes slid up to the man's face.
At first Gibbs thought the man was crying, but it was raindrops; it had begun to rain. However, a strange distress that settled around Gibbs' heart did not lessen and the agent found himself unable to turn away from the still man. With a deathly silence, Gibbs watched as the raindrops grew thicker and heavier, dragging the blood and dirt off the man's face on its way down to earth.
But as years pass, and the nights continue, and you watch yourself in that single moment that now lasts for an eternity, you will come to realize.
The uncomfortable pain uncoiled into something darker as Gibbs watched the rain finish washing the blood off. He took in the dull green eyes and pale face, reaching forward before he could even realize, calling the man before he could even understand.
What happened was not God's, nor Fate's fault.
It was yours.