Guten Tag! Thanks to everyone for all the reviews! They really make my day!
So, on a side note, while The Call was just something I felt like writing, 500 Miles was written for my writing group. The prompt was: Pick your favorite couple and write about the relationship you want to see. The following story is for the October prompt: Take your favorite show and depict the characters 5-10 years after the latest season.
Oh! Almost forgot. "Agent Tripplett," is a tribute to a family friend who is going through training at FLETC!
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of NCIS, including characters mentioned in the following story.
Gibbs stood at the back of the crowd, watching the scene before him. Most of the Agency had turned out to see this event, all dressed in their best attire. Gibbs felt slightly odd in his old Marine uniform, but no one paid him any attention. He decided not to fight it, as he felt his dress uniform was appropriate for this somber ceremony. Every eye in the auditorium was on the stage: the Secretary of the Navy was giving a speech, but Gibbs paid him no attention. His eyes were focused on the tall, thin man sitting behind the podium. Tim sat straight in the chair, his eyes only showing a hint of the fear he was feeling. Gibbs smiled as he watched those brilliant green eyes sweep the crowd in search of his team. The former Marine let his gaze follow that of his agent to find the rest of his team sitting side by side down in the front.
Gibbs let his eyes rest on Tony first. It calmed him to know that his oldest agent was now in charge of the team. He briefly thought back to the moment he and Tony had first met. As Tony sat straddled across his chest, gun aimed at his head, Gibbs had seen the first glimpse of passion for duty in the young cop's eyes. He had known from that moment forward that he would take this cocky young street cop and turn him into one of the best agents NCIS had ever seen. He allowed a smirk to cross his lips as he saw that finally he had succeeded. Tony had always been, and would always be, the class clown, but Gibbs knew he could be the fiercest of protectors and leaders when needed. He knew Tony would protect the team with everything he had. He remembered as Tony had grasped his hand when he left, tears in the younger man's eyes. Gibbs had held the soft green eyes with his own piercing blue eyes. "Take care of them," Gibbs requested. Tony had squeezed his hand as tight as he could. "Always." Gibbs felt a weight lifted, for he knew that no matter what happened Tony would defend his family.
Next in line was Ziva. She had left her hair down for the day, a scarf holding it back from her face. Gibbs loved her hair like this: it softened her face, made her seem more open than when she had her hair pulled back in a no nonsense braid. Over the years at NCIS she had left behind the cold Mossad Officer and become a friend, a sister, and a daughter. No longer were her actions dictated by orders and missions, but by loyalty and trust. He remembered as he had helped her take that first step into her new life, remembered helping her through the pain of shooting her brother. He also remembered the anger he had felt when she had been "placed" on his team without his consent, and he felt regret. He still regretted that anger, and the fact he had not accepted her sooner. Pulled back to the present, he snorted in amusement as she reached over to take Tony's hand in her own. He hadn't left but six months ago and already Tony had her breaking his Rules.
Instead of following down the line, Gibbs shifted his gaze to the tall, broad shouldered African man seated on the other side of Tony. Gibbs had not spoken to this young Agent, but he had watched him closely enough to know some about him. Antar Tripplett had joined the team six months ago, after Gibbs had left, effectively filling the empty slot on the team. The team had had trouble adjusting to him at first, but he proved he was quite enjoyable. While eight years younger than Tim, he had had some experience as a Federal Agent. He had transferred from the FBI after what he called a "disagreement" with a superior. When he came to NCIS, Tony picked him immediately. At first Gibbs had been annoyed with Tony for choosing Tripplett. The new Agent was very quiet and rarely spoke unless necessary. Many times he relied on his expressions and eyes to speak for him. Gibbs suspected Tony of picking this man to replace the former leader, trading one mute for another. Gibbs quickly realized his mistake: Tripplett, or Trip as Tony called him, wasn't silent like Gibbs, just soft spoken. His kind and cautious demeanor was totally opposite of his intimidating 6'6" frame. Even though he said little, his eyes always held a spark of humor and kindness. Gibbs saw that, given time, this young agent would become a respected and loved member of the ever growing family.
Gibbs shifted his gaze to the opposite end of the row. Breena Palmer was gently rocking her infant daughter, Christine, as she stroked the baby's shock of dark curls. Next to her, Jimmy had his arm wrapped tightly around his sleeping four-year-old son. Donnie Palmer took after his mother just as much as his new sister took after her father. The little boy's blonde hair held the same waves his mother's did, and his face was chiseled like hers. However, both children had inherited their father's smile and his dimples. Gibbs smiled as the child snuggled deeper into his father's neck. He couldn't explain the pride he felt at seeing Palmer's happy family. Gibbs knew the young man had come a long way from being the scared Autopsy Gremlin to the confident ME he now was. He allowed himself to chuckle as he remembered the young doctor's panicked look as he had received the call – while explaining some autopsy results to Gibbs – that his wife had gone into labor. Hours later, Palmer had walked into the waiting room to see the expectant faces of the entire team. His young face was flushed with joy as he gazed down on the new arrival, Donald Leroy Palmer. Later, as Gibbs held the small bundle for a moment, he felt so many things. One was the sadness that the baby's other namesake would never meet this small miracle: Ducky had passed away only a few months after the Palmers' wedding. Jimmy had been devastated, and had leaned on Gibbs more than either of them expected. The other emotion was pride. The fact that Palmer had given the child part of Gibbs name touched the older man. He finally saw that Jimmy had seen himself as a member of the family. He had finally taken his place as a respected member of the team.
Between Palmer and Ziva was the last member sitting in the audience. His Abby, his favorite, and he had no problem admitting that fact. He had known her the longest and they had been through much together. She was always there, and she never changed. Well, he thought, that wasn't entirely true. She had changed somewhat, but it had all been on the inside. What made Abby Abby was still there and had remained steadfast. What had changed was harder to see. She had grown up, and stopped hiding or avoiding her fears. The proof of this sat on her hand. Her left thumb played with the rings on her fourth finger. Gibbs watched as her husband on stage unconsciously repeated the action. 18 months ago Tim had proposed in the private of Abby's apartment, but Abby made sure their announcement was a big deal. She had done it random, completely out of the blue. The team had just finished with a long case and Ducky, Palmer, and Abby had joined them for Chinese take-out in the bullpen. Abby flounced over to Tim and gave him a deep kiss, earning a warning growl from Gibbs. She merely smiled the smile she knew would make sure she got her way and said, "It's okay Gibbs! We're getting married!" The room fell deadly quite, until the team got over their shock to congratulate the couple. Gibbs knew then she would be okay because she had finally pushed her fears aside for the man he knew would take care of her.
He stood a bit straighter as there was a polite round of applause. Tim stood and approached the podium, ready to be sworn in. As he said his oath, Gibbs felt tears forming in the corners of his eyes. He was proud… just as any father would be proud of his son. There was Tim, his Tim, being sworn into office. The youngest Director of NCIS ever. His chest swelled and he could barely breathe. He wanted nothing more than to rush up to the stage and take his son into his arms. He had known this day was coming, but it had still come as a shock when the word had come down that Director Vance was retiring. The team had celebrated, as well as mourned. Tony had been convinced this was the end of the team as they knew it. The new leader had panicked; Gibbs had left, Tim was leaving, who else would leave? Gibbs had been pleased, leaning against his desk (now Tony's) as he watched Tim take Tony aside and explain that just because they wouldn't be in the same place, they would always be a team.
Gibbs' eyes were still watering as Tim stepped up to the podium to give his speech. The brilliant green eyes swept the crowd, and landed on Gibbs. Tim smiled. Gibbs had known Tim would see him, even if the younger man was the only one who knew he was there. Gibbs nodded, and that seemed to give the new Director strength.
"15 years ago I came to the DC NCIS as green as anyone could be. You would think in that time I would learn to not be afraid of public speaking." This earned him a chuckle from those who knew him. The humor may have been lost on the politics and younger NCIS Agents, but those who remembered his early days laughed because they knew the fear was long gone. Gibbs saw the difference as well. Even though Tim joked at his nervousness, Gibbs knew he had changed so much since then.
The first time he had met the young agent, McGee could barely speak to him. He stuttered, he froze, and he refused to make eye contact. Over the weeks he got to know the young man from Norfolk, he began to see potential. He watched as no matter what Tony and Kate threw at him, McGee was determined to learn. He watched as McGee took initiative; the young agent saw what needed to be done, and he did it. He watched as he took the teasing and turned it into a strange sense of fondness and loyalty. Soon after that, Gibbs claimed him as his own.
Slowly, over the years, he watched as Tim left McGee behind. First the stutter succumbed, then came the banter, and finally came confidence as an investigator. The soft pudginess disappeared to be replaced by a lean and slim form. The baggy, ill-fitting clothes vanished around the same time, and tailored slacks and jackets started to appear. Over a decade the young, green kid had turned into a respected and loved agent. Now he took his place at the head of the Agency, to guide, serve, and protect.
Tim finished his speech and the applause started. Behind and directly in front of the Director there was the polite and obligated applause from the politics, those there because they had to be. A different sound, however, rang out above the noise. The Field Agents he had helped, the IT's he had stood up for, the scientists he listened t0 – friends he had made through his kindness and understanding – all stood, clapped, and cheered for Tim. His former team was cheering and whistling the loudest for their friend. Gibbs smirked as the Director's face showed a hint of pink. He might be the powerful head of the Agency, but the modesty of the rookie still lingered.
Gibbs went off to the Director's office, now Tim's office. He waited for Tim to show up, and then sat patiently in the corner as the new Director had a meeting with SecNav as well as several other high ranking officials. They left after about fifteen minutes and Tim's eyes flicked over to his old boss as soon as the door closed.
"Good job today," Gibbs told him.
Tim gave him a small smile. "Thanks." He gave a great sigh and rubbed his hands through his hair. "Boss, I don't know if I can do this!" Gibbs merely gave him the famous scowl. Tim winced; he knew that look. "I'll do it for you." He reached up and smacked the back of his own head. "Thank you, Boss. But I'm serious, I don't know if I'm ready!"
Gibbs rolled his eyes. "Tim, if you weren't ready, then you wouldn't be sitting in that chair right now. With you making the big decisions, I know I left the Agency in good hands." He smiled back at Tim's unsure grin. Gibbs nodded. "Yeah, you're going to be just fine. Now, I think you have some visitors outside."
Tim's eyes brightened as the door opened and his family poured in. The first to rush at Tim was Abby. She ran to him and pulled him into a kiss, but didn't hug him quite as tightly as she normally did. As they kissed, Tim slid his hand down onto her slightly bulged stomach. Gibbs recognized the fatherly gesture. He remembered doing that with Shannon. He knew that Tim and Abby were going to have a baby girl, he had seen it. He was glad; he knew that little baby would have her daddy wrapped around her finger from day one.
Only when Tony cleared his throat did the couple break apart. "I'm so happy for you, Timmy," Abby whispered in his ear before pulling away. Next Ziva stepped forwards and pulled him into a hug.
"I will miss you down in the bullpen, my brother," Ziva told him.
Tim grinned slyly at her. "Aw, I'll miss you too, Ziver. But now I can keep an eye on you from above!" Gibbs smiled a bit sadly at that comment.
Trip was next. He didn't say anything, but he smiled at the superior he had just begun to know. He shook the Director's hand, and Tim reached out with his other hand to squeeze the new agent's shoulder.
When Palmer came forward, he offered his hand out for a shake. "Breena's sorry she couldn't stop by, but Donnie and Christine were getting a bit restless."
"That's okay, Jimmy," Tim said as he grasped the ME's hand. Surprisingly, before Palmer could let go, Tim pulled him into a hug. After a moment of shock, Palmer hugged back.
"Promise you won't forget me downstairs?" Palmer said softly.
Tony waited until Palmer had backed off completely. Tim looked at him expectantly. The older man stepped in front of his old partner and stood with his hands clasped behind his back.
"Congratulations, Director McGee," Tony said in a formal tone.
"Thank you, Agent DiNozzo. I expect you to work your team hard since I'm up here."
Tony nodded. "Understood, Director." Gibbs' heart went out to his agent as he saw tears in the corner of the Italians eyes. "And what about my new agent, Sir?"
Tim continued to play with the formality. "I will have the new agents' folders to you by the end of the week. I expect you to find my replacement by the end of the month." He said 'replacement' with more force that was needed. Gibbs didn't know whether to walk over and smack the Director or pity him. Apparently not all insecurities were lost.
Dropping the formal act, Tony reached out and pulled his friend into a tight hug. "No one will ever replace you." The two men stood there for a long moment, neither saying anything, the others in the room pointedly looking away. "I'm proud of you, Probie. So. Damn. Proud."
Gibbs shook his head but smiled. Tim had always been, and would always be, Tony's probie. Gibbs watched with a mixture of happiness and sadness. He wanted so badly to stay, but he knew his time at NCIS had ended.
"They'll be alright," a familiar voice said from next to him.
Gibbs turned and looked at the young woman next to him. "I had expected Jenny."
"She said you wouldn't listen to her and would stay just to spite her."
Gibbs smirked. That was probably true. "It's been a long time Kate."
Kate smile at him. "I know. It would have been sooner if you had come when you were called."
Gibbs smirked at her. "Since when have I ever followed orders?"
Kate rolled her eyes. "That's why they sent me. You've spent the last six months moping around, it's time to go home."
"I was not moping."
Gibbs looked sadly at his team, his family. "I just want to make sure they're safe."
"As Caitlin said," another friendly voice said, "they will be fine."
Gibbs turned to see Ducky on his other side. "Hey Duck, they sending you after me too?"
Ducky smiled. "I had hoped it would be longer before I saw you again, but here we are."
Gibbs rubbed his hand over his chest, where he had taken two bullets protecting a witness. "Yeah, here we are."
"You don't have business here anymore, Jethro," Ducky told him admonishingly.
Gibbs shook his head at his two companions. "I'm surprised Franks isn't along for the ride as well."
Kate rolled her eyes. "Yeah, like he would have come. His exact words were, and I quote, 'Probie will come when he's damn well ready, and not a moment sooner.' I don't know how you ever put up with him."
Gibbs shrugged. He watched sadly as his family settled around the conference table, sharing stories and reliving memories. Tim was standing back, looking over the family with a happy and protective expression. His eyes shifted again to the corner and saw Kate and Ducky beside Gibbs. He gave them a melancholy smile.
Kate took Gibbs' hand in her own. "You'll see them again, I promise."
As Gibbs' eyes locked with Tim's, he nodded.
Ducky laid a hand on his old friend's shoulder. "Come along Jethro; Shannon and Kelly are waiting."
Tim watched sadly as his fallen companions faded. Tears sprung to his eyes. "So long, Boss," he whispered. "We'll miss you."
Hope you enjoyed! Reviews are really appreciated!
P.S. (I need to start working on this month's prompt: Place a character in a situation they would normally not be in. I have no idea what to write. Any suggestions?)