A/N: Written for the No Names Challenge... in which no names can be used to identify the characters. This can be considered a sequel to Written in Bourbon and Ink.

Maudlin Meanderings at Midnight

It's yet another Saturday night and once again I'm putting pen to paper. I'm glad the team doesn't read these and see how truly maudlin I can become when the day of your funerals comes around.

I still wonder though as I search through the memories of the life we had together. I wonder about the would have beens.

Would I have become estranged from my father? We went Stillwater at least once or twice a year when you were still alive. Hell you'd both would go spend weeks with him while I was deployed. We were a true family unit. I remember Christmases and birthdays, Easter and how our daughter loved to spend Halloween down there. She'd dress up in the costume that you'd stitch by hand and have me escorting her around town just as proud as she could be.

If I hadn't lost you, does that mean I'd have never met the team?

He sighs and lays down the pen. His vision is blurry as he sways into the living room. Sitting in the nearest recliner he finally passes out, unaware of the trail of tears trickling down his face.

The team in question gathers around the small table less than an hour later, passing the letter around as they worry about the friend and family member in the other room. Once again, they make sure that their friend is comfortable and the letter sitting in same spot that he'd left it on the kitchen table as they drive back to the oldest man's house each is lost in thought about the possibility of never having met the man they've all learned to love over the years.

Over pizza and beer they discuss the latest letter that they read, including the part about whether they would have met their friend if not for the tragic deaths of his family.

"He's right you know…if he hadn't joined NCIS due to them passing, I doubt my path would have crossed his. I had no intention of staying in Baltimore let alone DC this long when our paths did cross."

"Yep, I know what you mean. If not for NCIS, I might not have had all my babies to work with and he wouldn't have given me my hippo as a reward for helping him."

"Yeah, I don't know that I'd have met him or even met his daughter, because I really did want to be an NCIS agent most of my life. I mean it's possible we'd have met in school…or she might have gone to school with my sister, but you know we can't tell what would have happened."

"The only other way we might have met would have been if he'd stayed in the armed forces and we met on a joint mission. Between my brother and my father, I would not have met him any other way."

"Alas, there is only one other way for me to have met our friend and that's if he crossed my table. As a member of the armed forces, he would have had a fair chance of doing that as well. Oh my what a simply horrendous thought that is…"

Finished eating, they all gather in the living room, and continue quietly talking amongst themselves until dawn.