Gibbs and Franks were sitting outside, finally some air, and he was eating the steak and fries the nurse was allowing him to eat. Tim was back at work for something that he couldn't do on his own laptop. He wasn't going to admit that he missed him a bit.
"You got your knife Franks?" he asked as he felt as if he was butchering his steak with the little plastic knife and fork.
"Security took it at the airport. Changed the rules after 9/11."
He chewed on his piece of steak and frowned as he couldn't remember what Franks was talking about. Not that that was a surprise. "Nine-eleven?"
"September 11, 2001."
"Hey Boss, it's '96 and you just," he gave a laugh, "retired." He hummed at the taste of his steak. "Damn this is good. Thanks Boss." Gibbs turned back to the subject. "Had to be a hijacking huh?"
Mike looked away to grab a cigarette and light it, and he knew he was right.
"They never change security until it's too late."
Mike dragged on his cigarette before speaking. "…Al-Qaeda hijacked four airliners." Gibbs stared at his old boss and knew he wasn't going to like this. "Two hit the World Trade Center." Breath knocked away. "One the Pentagon." Couldn't blink. "Fourth was to take out the White House." Even Franks couldn't look at him as he said this. "Some gutsy passengers fought em', they went down in Pennsylvania."
Mike finally looked at him again but Gibbs didn't know if he wanted him to. "Twin Towers are gone. Pentagon is fixed. Three thousand-some dead. Nearly as many wounded."
He was going to be sick, he could feel it.
Gibbs ran to the trashcan and threw back up his steak, heard Franks stop a nurse from coming over as he tried to compose himself.
How could this happen? How did the government not know?
"That nurse was right," he said walking back, "I'm not ready for the steak."
Tim knew this day wasn't going to finish well. Pinpin Pula was setting up something but they didn't know what. And Tim was pissed because he and his team couldn't find anything! Not to mention that he hasn't seen Jethro since Mike came back earlier that day.
Gibbs knew someone was coming into his room. And it wasn't Mike, he left back for Mexico after letting the bomb drop about 9/11, and it wasn't Tim as his footsteps weren't this light.
A touch on his arm and he snapped his eyes open and grabbed the arm of the person. He looked up to find an exotic looking woman standing over him, just staring. "Yeah?"
She released his arm as she had grabbed it in response to his own grab, and pointed to herself. "Ziva."
He was guessing he was supposed to remember her. But he wasn't coming up with anything and the only reason he could think of to know her, he wasn't social so didn't have friends, was work. "We work together?"
"Yes. I'm a Mossad officer assigned to your team."
"Mossad? When they'd start doing that?"
"—It has been a year."
Gibbs looked back up at her and could tell she was disappointed that he couldn't remember her. "Don't feel bad. I worked with that ME—"
"Ducky, ten years, and you don't remember him," she interrupted again.
It was rather annoying. "You always finish people's sen—"
"Only when I am in a hurry. Abu Sayyaf is planning a terrorist attack on the Navy." Sitting up, he hunched over to take in what she was saying. "It will be as devastating as—"
"9/11," he said, this time interrupting her. He had to get up.
"You remember 9/11?" Ziva asked, a hint of surprise in her voice.
He wished he could say he did, but he couldn't. "No. My boss told me."
"No, my old boss. It doesn't matter," he said, pacing, frustrated. "What can I do?"
The woman grabbed the sides of his face with her little hands. "Remember," she instructed.
"I've been trying to since I woke up in this room!"
"Well try harder! You're not the only one who needs this!"
Like he could just flip a switch! He glared at her.
"Good. That's a start."
"The old Gibbs stare! You gave it to all of us! McGee, Tony, me!"
A jolt went through him at Tim's name but he had no idea what the hell she was going on about. "What are you talking about?" he yelled in frustration.
Then she grabbed his hand and did the weirdest thing. She slapped herself on the back of her head with his hand.
He walked by and head-slapped her as he headed for the elevator.
"Ari…Ari killed Kate."
The shot rang out and a bullet went through Kate's head. Blood sprayed out before her body fell back.
"And I…" she started to cry, "…I killed Ari."
A gun pointed at him before a shot rang out and Ari's head snapped back before his body followed. He turned to look up to see Ziva standing at the top of the basement stairs, looking down at Ari's body where blood pooled around his head.
"Yes," she nodded between sobs.
"You killed your brother…to save me."
She openly cried and he wrapped his arms around Ziva. His Ziver.
How could he have forgotten his Ziver? How could he have forgotten his daughter?
Tim was nervous as he talked to Abby while Tony talked to Ducky. They got a call a few minutes ago from Ziva that she got Gibbs to remember and was bringing him back.
Did Jethro remember everything? Or only so much?
The elevator dinged and both Tim and Tony shot out their seats as Gibbs and Ziva walked out.
"Boss," Tony greeted.
Tony and Tim glanced at each other. What was that? Did Ziva hit him and he forgot who Tim was since the hospital? "Uh, Boss, no I'm McGee," he said as they all followed him.
Abby came from the other side of the stairs and barreled into Gibbs. "Gibbs!"
"Hey Abby," Gibbs grunted and started falling back under the hug from Abby. All three agents helped him stay upright. "Hard to forget you Abbs." He then released Abby and gave Ducky a handshake. "Ducky. How could I forget your mother left you on a bus?"
"I have no idea Jethro."
"Should you be out of the hospital Gibbs?" Abby asked as Gibbs and his team headed upstairs, Tim in the rear as everything was going so fast.
"No time Abbs. Talk to you both later." He stopped and looked at the photos they had up on the screen. "I should have known it wasn't Ghalib."
"Oh no Boss," they denied, but the whole time Tim tried to see Jethro's eyes. He had to look into those ice blue eyes. He needed to.
"I would have made the same mistake," Tony said.
Gibbs turned to Tony and said, "Well yeah DiNozzo. That's why I'm so pissed," and gave him a head-slap before turning and continuing up the stairs.
"You didn't forget me," Tony laughed in relief but Tim didn't feel the same relief.
They all barged into MTAC in time to hear, "Nineteen will seem an acceptable losses."
"No death is acceptable when it's unnecessary," Gibbs said charging down the ramp and next to Director Shepard.
"Deputy Director Welsh, Special Agent Gibbs."
"This terrorist isn't after a cruise liner," he stated.
"Islamic terrorists love soft targets," Director Welsh tried to brush off.
"No, he wants the marine assault ship that Cape Fear is replenishing in the gulf."
Welsh argued, "You don't know what he wants. He's a terrorist. A cruise ship, a—"
"He told me!"
Tim's never seen Jethro so excessively angry before, it worried him. And it was only getting worse with every fast second that passed.
The look on Welsh's face was one of doubt. "He told you."
"Pinpin Pula is an arrogant son of a bitch. He thought the bomb that he planted would kill me." Tim flinched.
"So…he's not a suicide bomber?"
Jethro looked to the video of the ship still on course. "For god's sake, order that frigate to break off."
The Director shook his head. "Can't do that."
"Is everyone up there as stupid as you!" Welsh flinched back as if slapped. "Pinpin Pula is on the Cape Fear. He's the radioman. He intercepts every BOLO we send him and he replies, 'No Pinpin here.'"
"We got that Special Agent Gibbs. It's why we didn't communicate with Cape Fear until…now."
"Jeff!" Gibbs cried to one of the two other men in the video conference. "Thank God you're there. Can you get your SEALS onboard without being seen?"
"We can execute a Halo exertion within ten hours."
Welsh shook his head and cut in, "The Cape Fear would have entered the Med by then. That is unacceptable. If anything happens it will be on some tourist video camera."
"The sailors on that frigate have video cameras," Gibbs argued.
"We can confiscate those videos."
Tim watched, and watched, and watched as Gibbs reached his breaking point.
"What?" he whispered harshly before his voice rose. "You don't want this being seen?"
"An accident at sea," Welsh explained, "is better than an act of terrorism."
Gibbs looked back at the live feed of people entering other boats. "It's too late!" And when Welsh did nothing but watch, Gibbs shouted in his anger and disgust, "You bastard!" before storming out the room, leaving the team and Director to watch the ship blow.
Tim sat at his desk like the others; Abby was fidgeting as she stood in front of his desk. They all looked up when Gibbs walked into the bullpen and to his desk, going to his drawer where he kept his weapon.
"Oh, uh," Tony said breaking the silence and getting Gibbs' weapon and badge from his own desk, "I got em' Boss. I got em' from the medics when they took you."
Gibbs took them with a nod and stared at them before he walked around the desk to stand beside Tony. Tim watched as Gibbs gave a small smirk before saying, "You'll do." He handed Tony his weapon and badge, put a hand on his shoulder, and Tim's breath caught at his next words.
"They're your team now."
Tim stood up and stared at Gibbs as he walked over to his desk. "Tim, you're a good agent. Don't let him tell you otherwise."
Gibbs finally looked up into Tim's eyes, and he saw.
This man wasn't a stranger any longer. But he wasn't Tim's lover. This man…this man was his boss. His now former boss.
His lover…his Jethro…wasn't there.
Holding in everything he had, not letting any heart broken tears fall, he gave a curt nod. "I will Boss." And with one last look into his eyes, Gibbs turned away and to Abby.
"Gibbs," she whimpered.
He put his finger over her lips and gave a kiss to her cheek as the tears in her eyes slid down. Gibbs then went to Ziva last and after a moment, he said, "I owe you Ziva."
"I will collect…Jethro."
Smiling, he walked around her and asked Ducky for a ride home. The team, Director Shepard…Tim…they all watched as he turned back one last time.
The elevator opened, and Tim watched as the doors closed after the two men got on.
Finally, all his strength left him. He collapsed in his seat, his head fell down into his hands as he felt the tears come. His heart…he couldn't feel it. He was sure it stopped beating.
How? What? Why?
He weakly lifted his head to see through his tears Ziva kneeled beside his chair. The team and director looking at him. They felt the loss of their leader, but they didn't, couldn't, feel what Tim was. His lover, his Jethro, he wasn't there. He was gone.
"Tim," Ziva repeated.
He looked back at her and without the control to hide his pain and anguish, he whispered the three words that kept repeating in his heart and mind.
"He doesn't remember."
A/N: Oh man was that hard to write.
Please review and please don't hate me.