Title: Fallen Mighty
Characters: Everyone... but no names are given
Genre: Character Study, Angst, Drama.
Rating: FR13.
Plot: Your glory, O Israel, lies slain on your heights. How the mighty have fallen.

warning: This is a death fic. Someone very dear is dead. Be warned

Written for the Death NFA Challenge

גִבֹּורִֽים׃ נָפְל֥וּ אֵ֖יךְ חָלָ֑ל בָּמֹותֶ֖יךָ עַל־ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל הַצְּבִי֙

"Your glory, O Israel, lies slain on your heights. How the mighty have fallen!"
2 Samuel 1:19

The birds are singing loudly and the sun insists on shining over the somber group assembled in the sad ceremony that summer morning. The heat wave which is assaulting DC is mercilessly torturing them, as they sweat nonstop into their mandatory black suits as they are gathered to mourn the fall of one of their own.

The merciful breeze lazily moves the leaves on the urban oaks, firs and cherry trees strategically spread out through Arlington National Cemetery, making them dance with the wind and whisper a soft murmur as if they too were mourning.

One of their team has fallen. The mighty among them has fallen, and there's nothing they can do and no one to run to, as death has embraced their colleague in its cold arms and silently and inevitably took the mighty away.

The horse-drawn caisson is long gone, to wherever it goes after it has already fulfilled its purpose, probably off to help carry another brave soldier to his or her final resting place.

The pallbearers approach with the casket, and solemnly place it on the assigned place for the ceremony. The United States American flag lies on top of it, reminding them of the reason why they've fought, why they've bled, why they've sacrificed their time – and ultimately, if necessary – their very own lives for their mighty nation.

The marching Platoons arrange themselves in lines, and stand at attention, in respect to the mighty fallen, while the firing party gets ready to salute with their weapons of choice.

The sobbing of a young woman is heard as she cries broken heartedly against her soft black linen handkerchief. One of her colleagues, feeling the burden of command which is now heavily weighing on his shoulders, approaches her and silently gathers her in his strong arms, as she molds herself against his chest and wets the collar of his white shirt.

There are no words spoken between them. Their pain is too great.

The first salute breaks through the silence of that morning, scaring away the birds resting on the trees nearby. They screech and take flight, tiny dark dots moving in amazing speed against the blue skies, crying out complaining at those humans who dare interrupt their peace.

The team members flinch at its sound, as they had flinched at the sound of the shot that took one of their own. A coward's shot, silly really, not aimed to kill, but it had killed nonetheless.

A simple accident perpetrated by a scared young boy who, merely to prove his stubborn military father wrong, took his father's sniper rifle from its hidden place, without him knowing about that the boy had cracked the security code of the lock, and decided to play aim.

The boy was his father's son. His aim was true.

The shot rang out in the night silence, cutting the air and hissing, until it reached the back of the NCIS agent interrogating a potential suspect across the road in a house of that quiet Military base.

Both suspect and agent died in one single shot, while the other agents also present at the house – which soon became a crime scene - scrambled around trying to find the source of such a devious attack.

Their investigation had been merciless and also bittersweet. Only a few hours later, the suspect, not older than thirteen, was crying and begging for forgiveness as they stared at him with shock and anger.

It was just a kid. A stupid kid. An accident, easily prevented, but an accident nonetheless.

There were no great plots of assassination.

No intrigue or explosions to take away lives.

No rage or anger filled shootout with a suspect.

No awareness of danger, or even the smallest inkling that that day, that hour, that second… could be their very last.

No nothing.

The second salute sounds through the plains and this time they do not flinch. They stare with dead eyes at the casket, as the pallbearers slowly, oh so slowly, ceremoniously fold the American flag, in a ritual which had been repeated a dozen times, a hundred times – oh, no. Thousands.

But still, it did not lose its meaning. Nor does it diminish the pain of the loss it represents.

The senior soldier holds the flag, now just a small triangle, in reverence against his chest, turns around and marches in rigid steps up to the last living relative who, due to his very advanced age, remains sitting throughout the proceedings.

His old wrinkled face, pinkish by the summer sun and carrying the marks of suffering and pain, lifts tired red rimmed blue eyes to the young soldier who presents him the flag, in silent respect for his loss.

He nods to the soldier, just a boy really, before the decades and years of experience heavily weighting on his shoulders. He takes the flag with reverence, holding it against his chest, and his heartfelt sobs crush what's left of the spirit of the team members, as they all wish they had the freedom – and the courage – to expose their pain as freely as he is doing right now.

They gaze at the casket as the third salute sounds, then finally silence.

There are no words. Even the wind calms down until the trees finally stand still.

They remember lessons learnt.

They remember the rules which were forever ingrained into their brains.

They remember headslaps and forced conferences in the elevator.

Their pain is immeasurable, as a more senseless death for such a warrior cannot even be conceived, much less acknowledged as real.

Finally, a lone bugle sounds in the distance, its haunting melody filling the air, honoring the fallen and remembering past glories.

Its battle ready cry resounds in their hearts, each note echoing through their ears, down their chests and finally vibrating their body members.

A part of who they are was physically torn from them, and the wound is raw and bleeding. No healing salve can be applied to the weeping sore, as the most badly damaged part of them was the very core of their being.

How can you heal what cannot be touched?

How do you reach into a broken soul which does not have any strength to fight anymore?

How do you bring comforting words to one who does not wish to be consoled?

They didn't even have the solace of anger, as the killer was under custody, and further investigation revealed that it was exactly what it seemed to be.

An accident.

A stupid idiotic accident.

But an accident nonetheless.

How do you go on?

How?

And why?

Why did Gibbs have to die like this?

- TO BE CONTINUED -