Did I Ever Tell You I'm Your Hero

Ch. 2

Gibbs had excused himself not because his craving for caffeine had become too intense, but because he had to sort through the memory that had come unbidden at overhearing his young agent's story from his past.

His career as a Marine had had its share of accolades. Things he dismissed as just doing his duty, while others wanted to award him with medals. Even as an NCIS agent he'd been recognized for going above and beyond what was expected. He didn't believe such a thing was possible. You did whatever it took to protect your teammates and those you serve.

Off duty he felt the same way. If you saw someone in trouble you stepped up and tried to help. That's all he'd been doing that day he suddenly recalled.

He'd been spending a rare furlough day at the beach with Shannon and Kelly. The girls had decided to lay in the sun before going into the water. As he sat smiling at the pair, their daughter imitating her mother he saw a movement in the water. He looked but didn't see anything out of the ordinary.

Chalking it up to a trick of the sun on the water he was surprised when he saw a hand rise up from the water before disappearing again. He didn't think, he reacted by pure instinct. He ran to the water and dove in swimming to where he knew he'd find the one in trouble.

He had to fight the undertow and could only imagine how the small boy managed to not have been pulled farther out to sea. He reached out and pulled the child towards him as he swam upwards to break through the surface. In no time he'd gotten him to shore signaling the lifeguard to call for the paramedics as he began life saving measures.

Once the boy had coughed up some water he pulled back to make room for the professionals uttering, "You'll be alright, kid," as he returned to his family.

He saw a couple with a young baby worriedly making their way to the recovering youth. Worry, fear and relief played across their faces. Surely they loved who he assumed was their son.

As he approached his girls Shannon was resting up on her elbows watching him with a knowing smile. He shrugged a shoulder not willing to say anything about what had happened. With a slight shake of her head Shannon slowly laid back as her husband sat back on the sand next to her.

"I know you don't want to hear it, but that was a good thing you did," she said not opening her eyes. She knew he was watching to make sure the child was okay.

The last he saw of the boy was his face as the paramedics lifted the gurney into the back of the ambulance. His mother was helped in to ride with him as his father took the baby and hurried to the car to follow.

Gibbs relaxed and returned his full attention back to his family. Kelly grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the water. "Let's stay near the shore," he told her knowing it would be too risky to go in further.

"Okay Daddy," she agreed happily splashing him with the water she scooped up with her hands.

He lifted her up over his head before he swept her legs down into the water again. He could never get enough of her laughter.

Gibbs ran his hand across his eyes wiping away the memory and returned to the present. He took the coffee being handed to him across the counter, gave a nod of thanks as he paid the cashier, before he turned to head back to the Navy Yard.

He was pleased to see his agents were all busy working. He fought the fond smirk that threatened to rise as he looked at McGee. He wondered if his subconscious had recalled that event from so many years ago and that was why having Tim on his team had been so important to him.

Tim was standing in front of his desk report in hand.

"Anything I can do for you?" Gibbs asked.

Handing his report over Tim nervously replied, "I have that appointment this afternoon with the dentist."

Gibbs checked his watch, took the report and nodded a dismissal. Trying to lighten some of Tim's unease Gibbs said, "You'll be alright, Kid."

Tim looked at him quizzically knowing he'd heard that before. Seeing the smile on his boss's face it came to him Tony was right. Tim grinned back nodding to let Gibbs know the secret was safe with him. He gave a dual meaning, "Thanks, Boss," as he bid farewell and left knowing he'd found his hero.