Hey guys! First of all, I want to thank you all so, so much for all the awesome reviews. It means an unbelievable lot to me, so thank you from the bottom of my heart :D
I hope you all like this chapter. It's the last one. A few of you want to know what happened to Tony, but I don't think I have it in me to write a multi-chapter deathfic. Plus, I think it's better like this.
Thanks again! :D
Warning: Slight references to Requiem and Swan Song. Seriously, though, if you haven't seen the episodes you won't even know they're there.
Gibbs's gut was churning.
That in itself was a very bad sign. The day Kate died, the day DiNozzo was infected with pneumonic plague, the day McGee was held hostage in a women's' prison, the day Abby was kidnapped—the list goes on and on—all of those days the great Leroy Jethro Gibbs awoke to a painful uneasiness in his stomach. Some called it instinct, some called it black magic, but whatever it really was, the feeling was almost prophetic.
So when Agent Gibbs arrived at work that morning to find his Senior Field Agent's desk empty, he was worried to say the least.
"McGee," Gibbs barked at the young man fiddling around on his computer, "Where's DiNozzo?"
The younger agent immediately snapped to attention, jumping up from his seat and sharing a look with Ziva, who was seated at her own desk, before he replied, "I don't know, Boss. He hasn't come in yet." Gibbs shot McGee a meaningful look. "Calling him right now, Boss." McGee said, interpreting the look perfectly.
McGee pulled out his cell phone and began dialing quickly, shooting uneasy looks at his boss. The agent knew already that it would be an unpleasant day.
"No answer," Tim informed his boss after he was greeted by Tony's voicemail.
"Dammit, DiNozzo. Rule number three," Gibbs mumbled lowly under his breath.
"Would you like me to perhaps go to his apartment? Maybe he slept through his alarm," Ziva suggested mildly from her desk, obviously making up excuses for her partner.
"Yeah, Boss. Tony is a deep sleeper," McGee pitched in, seeing where Ziva was going.
Gibbs looked between his two agents with a raised eyebrow.
"…or…We could stay right here and call every five minutes?" McGee redeemed himself, drawing a sharp, resentful look from Ziva.
Gibbs found himself smiling slightly in spite of his twisting gut. It was no wonder he never spoke; his agents could read his mind.
As the morning dragged on without any sign of his Senior Field Agent, Gibbs found the churning in his gut to escalate to the point that it was almost painful. He was just about to recant his decision not to pay a visit to Tony's apartment when his phone rang.
"Gibbs," He answered shortly, and then silently listened to the description of his team's latest case before hanging up.
"Grab your gear," He called out, standing up from his desk, "We've got a dead marine."
Ziva and McGee jumped up instantly, grabbing their backpacks and strapping on their sigs.
"McGee." Gibbs tossed the car keys to the younger agent.
"On it, Boss."
"He still is not answering."
Gibbs wasn't surprised—he knew that he would have been informed immediately if contact had been made with Tony—but his uneasiness increased even more.
"Excuse me, Special Agent Gibbs?" An unfamiliar voice came from the direction of the elevators.
Gibbs locked onto the figure walking towards him and his team quickly. In an instant he observed the tall young man and his even younger female partner and identified them as Metro detectives.
"I am Detective Jonathan Mitchell from the MPDC, this is my partner, Detective Melissa Arnold," The man introduced himself, coming to a halt at the entrance of their semi-enclosed workspace and flashing his badge.
The confirmation of the two detectives' identities sent Gibbs's heart to his toes. The agent shot a quick look at Tony's desk, but quickly reverted his gaze to Detective Mitchell. He wasn't ready to consider the possibility that his missing agent was the reason for the visit, even though everything inside of Gibbs told him that it was.
"What can I do for you?" He asked pleasantly. The way that McGee and Ziva had considerably slowed down their preparations so that they could eavesdrop didn't escape his notice.
The Detective looked genuinely remorseful as he said, "I'm sorry to inform you that an agent under your authority was found murdered last night."
Ziva froze completely, her body tense with anticipation for what she knew would be her boss's next question. McGee felt his body go weak with shock and let his backpack drop to the floor as he turned to look at his partner's empty desk.
All the air was forced out of Gibbs's lungs, and he struggled to regain his breath for a long moment. "Who?" He finally managed to ask the one question that he desperately did not want to know the answer to. He turned his eyes to Detective Mitchell and silently begged him not to answer.
The response came from a sympathetic Detective Arnold, "Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo."
Once again, Gibbs felt the air punched out of his lungs. This time, though, he knew he would never be able to breathe again. He found himself cruelly reminded of another time when he was drowning, sinking deeper and deeper into an abyss, feeling every last ounce of oxygen leaving his body. But someone had been there to save him that time.
"No," Gibbs heard McGee whisper brokenly. "No!" This time it was a shout. Gibbs snapped out of his trance to see McGee yelling at the detectives. "You're wrong."
"McGee," Gibbs tried to soothe his agent, but to no avail.
"No, Gibbs! They're wrong!" McGee turned to him, "How many times have we been told that Tony was dead or dying? It's not him, Gibbs. It's not!"
Gibbs felt something break inside of him as he watched his youngest agent break down. He then looked to Ziva, who was facing away from him, but he could see her shoulders shaking. The impenetrable Ziva David was breaking, too. Finally, Gibbs looked to Detective Jonathan Mitchell, the man who had come in and turned his entire life upside down with just a handful of words, and begged him to say that McGee was right. The tiny slimmer of hope shining inside of him was crushed by just a slight headshake from the man.
Gibbs closed his eyes in defeat, "It's not like that this time, Tim."
The quiet words from the man that Timothy McGee looked up to as a boss and father figure were enough to rip him apart.
"Oh, God." McGee made his way to his desk and collapsed in his chair, burying his face in his hands.
"Ziva—" Gibbs tried to comfort the woman, but she merely shook her head and took off, gear still on her back, nearly sprinting. Gibbs didn't know where to, and doubted that she did, either.
And so Gibbs found himself alone, standing in the middle of the bullpen, as the remaining members of his family broke down. He stumbled numbly to his chair, plopped down, and found himself staring at the empty desk of his fallen agent.
As Gibbs sat, he vaguely realized that he didn't feel angry. He didn't feel sad or vengeful or guilty—no, those feeling would come later. As Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs sat, he didn't feel anything. He was swallowed whole by an all-consuming emptiness—a sensation that was far too familiar to the man. The loss of his friend and surrogate son shook him to the core, and he didn't know how he would survive this time.
"You survive for them. For McGeek and Zee-vah and Ducky and Abby. You survive because you have to." Gibbs could almost see his Senior Field Agent sitting, legs propped up on his desk with that signature, cocky grin.
He was another Ghost now. There to fill the gaping spaces left in his wake.
Gibbs felt a stabbing pain in his heart as reality hit him once again. With a look after Ziva, to McGee, who was still sitting frozen, face in hands, and a look to the desk that would forever remain empty, Gibbs knew that nothing would be the same.
His entire world had once again been rocked, and though he may some day move on, he'll never forget.
I hope you liked it!
Thanks again for everything, guys! Please review! :D