NCIS – does not belong to me – it belongs to the amazing cast and crew. Semper Fi.

Not sure where this came from. Well kind of do. Spoilers for Engaged 1&2. Born of a really long boring day at work. Today. Yeah written quickly. Anything majorly wrong, please let me know. Anything minor… ignore, K? But I am sorry for the weird section breaks. The sleeping pill I took is kicking in and I can't focus enough to fix it….

Home of the Brave

By Jen S.

11/17/2011

On the plane – somewhere over the Atlantic –

Gibbs sat lost in thought, staring at the flag draped coffin. The plane shuddered through a burst of turbulence. He glanced over to where Ziva sat with Flores. Flores started to get up but Ziva stopped her with a hand to her knee. A few soft words were exchanged, then Ziva stood.

Gibbs jerked his head and Ziva made her way over to him. "What's going on?"

"She would like some time alone," Ziva replied as she braced herself. "I will go…"

"Sit down, Ziva," he sighed.

"Are you sure Gibbs? You also seem to need…"

The plane shook violently. Gibbs reached up to catch her. The floor rocked beneath them. His hands clenched in the fabric of her shirt. Across the plane, Gabriela cried out as she fell to one side.

"Ahh.." the pilot came across the intercom. "Better buckle up guys, this could get a little bit interesting."

Two men immediately yanked free of their harnesses. "I *hate* when he says interesting like that," one said. "It's never good." Both men moved to sit on either side of Gabriela. Once secured, they each stretched an arm across her, locking wrists.

Gibbs wrenched Ziva down into the seat next to him. He quickly pulled her harness in place, then he reached across her and twisted his hand in the netting, bracing her with his arm. "Hold on, kiddo."

The plane suddenly dropped through the air. Ziva gasped and grabbed Gibbs' arm with both hands. They were descending fast. It felt like all of the air was being sucked out of her lungs. Then the plane tilted violently to the left. Ziva and Gibbs were slammed back against the side of the plane. Gabriela and the two men with her were forced against the harnesses.

The casket slammed against the bands holding it in place.

Gibbs reached out his leg. He kept his foot close to but not touching the flag.

In the cockpit, the pilot and co-pilot were fighting the controls. "Come on you bitch get up there." Sweating, pulling. An alarm screamed suddenly. "Shut up, shut up, shut up. I know we're falling. I CAN SEE THAT!"

Then just as suddenly the plane leveled out and began to climb again. Back up to cruising altitude. "OK. We're OK. Leaf on the wind." (see notes at end)

"You are such a geek."

"And yet you know exactly what I was quoting."

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Cut - phfft

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Ziva took several deep breaths and laid her forehead against Gibb's shoulder. He was twisting instantly, running his free hand over her hair, feeling the back of her head. "You alright? Did you hit your head?"

"No," she shook her head. "I am fine. You?"

"Fine." He cupped her cheek for a second, then straightened. She sat up moving away from him.

"Everybody OK? Anybody hurt?" a medic was on his feet.

"No." "No, sir." "Could use a stiff drink Doc." Voices echoed through the plane. And a few chuckles

The medic moved toward Gibbs, "You both OK, sir?"

"We're fine, check the lieutenant," Gibbs said.

He nodded and went around the casket, straightening the flag as he went.

Gibbs slowly unwound his fingers from the webbing. "This is why I joined the Marine Corps and not the Air Force."

They sat for several minutes, just breathing. The medic quickly checked Gabriela as her two guardians returned to their own seats.

"As I started to say before we were so rudely interrupted," Ziva said. "I thought perhaps you would wish to be alone."

"No. I was just thinking."

"You seem to be doing that more lately. Spending time lost in your own head."

"Well," he said. "It is a wide open sea empty of all but a single ship…"

"Gibbs."

He sighed, "Ziver." He rubbed a hand over his face. "I met a woman."

After a long pause, she asked. "When?"

"1976."

She blinked at him. "Before Shannon."

"Before you were born, too. God, you are young."

"And you are stalling."

"I just started thinking about her lately." He smiled and leaned his head back. "Her name was Joan. Joan Matteson. And she was amazing."

"Red head?"

He made a face. "I don't always date red heads." She just looked at him. "OK most of them were. But no. She was a brunette." He focused on her hair. "Nothing wrong with dark hair."

"Tell me about her."

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Cut - phfft

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Gibbs dozed with his chin to his chest. Ziva was curled on her side facing the side of the plane. And with her head resting on his thigh. One of his hands rested on her hair. The other gripped the fabric of her pants at her hip.

He heard a soft sound. One that didn't quite fit with the usual sounds of a plane full of sleeping people. He'd fallen asleep amid the quiet shuffling, occasional cough, and low murmur of voices. The plane shuddered once in a while, but nothing as serious as the earlier rapid descent.

Then someone came close to Ziva. Gibbs' eyes flew open, he lurched forward and grabbed the man by the throat. It was one of the two young men who'd moved to Gabriela's side.

"Sir?" the man choked. "Just bringing a blanket."

"Sorry," Gibbs whispered as he released the man.

"No problem, sir," the young man replied. He unfolded the blanket and draped it over Ziva's sleeping form. Gibbs helped him tuck it around her, then put his hand back on the top of her head.

The young Marine went back to his seat where his friend was chuckling. "That is quite possibly the dumbest thing I've ever seen you do."

"Shut up."

Ziva murmured in her sleep. Gibbs stroked her hair until she quieted. He dozed back off to the sound of her soft snores.

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Cut - phfft

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"Ziva?"

Her eyes flew open.

Gibbs smiled down at her. "Good morning. We've got about an hour flight time left. The men are letting the women have first crack at the facilities."

She sat up and rubbed her face. "Did you sleep?"

"Quite well actually. First time in a while. Guess it helped to talk."

"I am always here Gibbs. Whenever you need to talk."

He nodded, "Go get cleaned up."

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Cut - phfft

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On the ground, Dover AFB -

The hearse pulled away slowly. Quincy's parents were led to a waiting car. Gabriela and her father hugged as they walked to another.

Ziva was standing, watching as they disappeared.

Gibbs was standing, watching her.

The young man who'd brought the blanket stepped up to his side to catch Gibbs' attention. "Sir?"

"Yes, Marine?"

"This was entirely inappropriate for me to have done. But I did and I can't undo it. So…" The man handed over a sheet of paper. "Keep safe, sir."

"Keep safe Marine." Gibbs smiled as he looked down on the printed out photo. "And thanks."

The young man smiled and nodded as he walked back to his friend.

Phfft - Fade out to black and white on the photo. The two of them asleep. Her head on his lap. His hands on her hair, and gripping her pants to hold her in place. The corner of the casket and flag visible.

Snow is falling down on this glorious land
Colors fading, turning into white again
To fallen heroes angels sing, they cry their winter tears
Endless mourning days will turn to years

So this is goodbye, I take leave of you and
Spread your wings and you will fly away now, fly away now

Nothing on earth stays forever
But none of your deeds were in vain
Deep in our hearts you will live again
You're gone to the home of the brave

Every solemn moment I will treasure inside
Even though it's hard to understand
That a silent wind can blow the candle out
Taking everything, leaving the pain far behind

You call out my name, but your voice is fading
Into the wind, embraced, you'll fly away now, fly away now

Nothing on earth stays forever
But none of your deeds were in vain
Deep in our hearts you will live again
You're gone to the home of the brave

Nothing on earth stays forever
But none of your deeds were in vain
Deep in our hearts you will live again
You're gone to the home of the brave, yeah

My eyes are closed I feel you're far away
Far beyond that shining star
I know you'll find what you've been fighting for
Far beyond that shining star

Down on bended knee I pray, bring courage to these souls
Make 'em live forever in the heart of the bold
So I say, "Farewell my friends, I hope we'll meet again
When my time has come to fall from grace"

So this is goodbye, I take leave of you and
Spread your wings and you will fly away now, fly away now

Nothing on earth stays forever
But none of your deeds were in vain
Deep in our hearts you will live again
You're gone to the home of the brave

Nothing on earth stays forever
But none of your deeds were in vain
Deep in our hearts you will live again
You're gone to the home of the brave

Hammerfall - Glory to the Brave - Songwriters: Joacim Anders Cans, Oscar Fredrick Dronjak, Jesper Stroemblad - lyrics obtained at .com.

Oh yeah and "This could get interesting." Five extra points if you remember…

Hoban 'Wash' Washburn: This landing is gonna get pretty interesting.
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Define "interesting".
Hoban 'Wash' Washburn: [deadpan] Oh God, oh God, we're all going to die?

And of course

Hoban 'Wash' Washburn: I am a leaf on the wind - watch how I soar.