NCIS – not mine, still

And I think this is the end for now. Hope you enjoyed the ride.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Mark Twain

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. Theodore Roosevelt

Friday – November 11 – Veteran's Day – 11/11/11

One week after his entire life changed. Well about seven hours shy of exactly one week. It was 0600. He walked up to her front door carrying a cup of coffee in one hand. His tool kit in the other. He sat the kit down and knocked firmly. He took a long drink of the coffee. And knocked again.

He was just about to pull out his key when the door opened. Ziva stood partially hidden behind the door. Her hair was tousled. Her eyes blinked at him.

"Gibbs? It is very early."

"Sorry. Were you still asleep?"

She nodded and stepped back to let him in. Her gun was in her hand. "I thought I was meeting you at your house at 0830." She yawned.

"Figured I'd come take a look at the leak in your kitchen," he leaned over and kissed her forehead. "You can go back to sleep for a while."

"No I am awake. You will need to turn off the water, yes?"

He grinned, "Yeah. It works better that way."

"I will take my shower quickly."

I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow
And each road leads you where you want to go
And if you're faced with the choice and you have to choose
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you (16)

She sat on the kitchen counter sipping a cup of tea, watching him work.

"So how will this work?" she asked.

He replied, "Well, if I've done it right. The water will drain out of the sink without flooding the cabinet."

She giggled, "I meant Sera."

"Oh," he gave the pipe a few more twists. "Jack has to leave this afternoon to complete the mission that was canceled last weekend. Sera's going to stay with me while they're gone."

"Ah."

Gibbs looked out from under the cabinet. "What?"

"Just thinking that this will prove to be very interesting to watch."

"Ah."

"And when they return."

"I have to give her back. Though I'm guessing I can steal her once in a while."

"That did not work so well for the last person who tried that."

"Yeah," he laughed. "OK that should do it. Try it."

She slid to the ground and walked over to turn on the water.

"All fixed," Gibbs said, sliding out from under the sink.

"Thank you Gibbs," she said.

"You are welcome Ziver." He packed up his tools. "Let's go grab some breakfast."

"I would love to. But we must return here before going to Annapolis. I have made potato salad, macaroni salad, pasta salad…" she smiled at him. "All required for a tail gate party, yes?"

"Yeah," he nodded. "We've got plenty of time. Grab your jacket, it's chilly this morning."

And if one door opens to another door closed
I hope you keep on walking until you find the window
If it's cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile
But more than anything, more than anything (16)

The Naval Academy parking lot was almost full. Gibbs pulled into a spot near the street. McGee and Tony were waiting on the curb. They waved. Gibbs tossed a hand up, then gestured for them to come over.

"Hey Boss," McGee greeted. "Ziva."

"McGee," Gibbs replied, then handed him a large shopping bag.

"Whoa," DiNozzo gasped as he caught sight of the trunk. "Are we feeding everyone?"

"We're going to try," Gibbs replied handing him a cooler.

"Sir, can we be of assistance, sir?" two Plebes jogged up.

"Yep. Take this, and this, and this," Gibbs handed over bags. "Oh, and these," he handed each young man a Hershey bar. "For you. Thanks. Follow them."

"Follow us, Boss, where are we going?"

"That way." Gibbs pulled out a grill.

"Sir, can I be of assistance, sir?" another Plebe arrived.

"Nope, grill is mine," Gibbs said. But he handed over a bar of chocolate. "Enjoy son."

"Yes sir. Thank you sir!" He darted off to another arriving car. "Ma'am, can I be of assistance, ma'am?"

They made their way through the lot and crowds. Tony was now walking with a definite purpose. Gibbs followed his line of sight to see Bear standing like a boulder in a river.

"Hey," Bear greeted. "We're down here."

Jack and Mark were standing with Fornell.

Ziva paused, "Where is the *tail gate*?"

My wish for you
Is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold (16)

They stood for the ceremonies. Listened to the music. Watched for the formations. Then moved to the river's edge for the boat race.

x

Fornell had a pair of binoculars and was watching the rowing team down at the water's edge. "Son of a bitch!"

"What?" Gibbs asked.

"She's flirting."

"Who?" Tony asked.

"Who? My eleven year old daughter. Is flirting. With a midshipman."

"Are you sure?"

"It's been a while DiNozzo," Fornell snapped. "But I still recognize it." He stood up and started down the bleachers. Then he stopped and looked again. "Well hell." He stomped back up to his seat.

"Decided not to embarrass her?" Gibbs asked.

"No. Your grandkid just Gibbs-glared the midshipman. He ran away."

Sera gave Sean a strong one-armed hug, then took Emily's hand to bring her up to the bleachers. Tony climbed down to meet them and walk them back up.

"Daddy!" Emily was excited. "Sean said once the race is over, he can take me out in the boat."

"They let the families have a try," Sera explained. "I was supposed to get to row but…" she indicated her sling-ed arm. "They have life jackets."

"So can I?"

"Yeah," Fornell smiled and stroked her hair. "You can go out with Sean. But come sit and let's watch him kick ass."

The boats were loaded.

The starting gun fired.

"PULL!"

The boats practically flew across the water surface. The USNA team pulling further and further ahead. Winning the race.

No one cheered louder than Gibbs' team.

And while you're out there getting where you're getting to
I hope you know somebody loves you
And wants the same things too
Yeah, this is my wish (16)

Gibbs was steadily grilling burgers and hot dogs. Ziva set up plates and rolls as he finished each batch. Conversation rose and fell around them. Plebes and Middies wanted to talk to him. About his days in the Corps. His life as a sniper. His world now as an agent.

And they ate. Wow did they eat. Ziva's salads disappeared very quickly. So did the cookies and pastries that Fornell brought.

Emily got her ride on the racing boat. Tim videotaped her squeal as they got the boat up to speed.

Then it got later. The food ran out.

Then Jack, Mark, and Bear started checking their watches. Gibbs met Jack's eyes.

They walked off together.

I hope you never look back but you never forget
All the ones who love you and the place you left
I hope you always forgive and you never regret
And you help somebody every chance you get

Oh, you'd find God's grace in every mistake
And always give more than you take
But more than anything, yeah more than anything (16)

"So anything I should know?"

Jack shook his head. "You managed to keep her alive when armed terrorists were trying to kidnap and kill her. I think you can handle a week." Jack sighed. "We dropped off everything this morning. Including Dozer. You can always run back to the house if she forgot anything."

"Doubt it."

"Me too." Jack took a deep breath. "I came to see you. When I was a kid. I ran away. Frequently actually. But that time I made it all the way to Virginia."

"When?"

"1991."

There was a long pause.

"I followed you. To the cemetery. I saw the graves. Your family. Shannon and Kelly. And I couldn't do it. I couldn't approach you. I didn't feel like I was worthy. And I certainly knew I couldn't replace them. So I left. Turned myself into the local PD. That's actually how I met Mark. His dad was the sergeant on duty. Mark had just left for boot camp. His parents took me in. Kept me. Finished raising me. I'd wanted to be a Marine, but was afraid sooner or later I'd either meet you. Or someone who recognized the resemblance. So I followed Mark into the Navy. I met Sera's mother just after boot. Nine months later I was a father. Well eight actually. She was a preemie. I kept thinking I would make contact. But the more time went on, the more excuses I found. But… when she was old enough, I told Sera who you were."

Gibbs just let him talk it out. When he fell silent, Gibbs said. "I do have one question. Her name. On her birth certificate?"

Jack cracked up laughing, "Her mother did that. I was going to change it. But it started growing on me. She won't use it. Won't let anyone else use it either. Though Johanna does when she's really mad. You know. Full name. At least we could get Sera out of it."

"I like it," Gibbs said. "Make a good name for a boat."

"Yeah," Jackson Lee Reilly grinned. "That it would."

Gibbs pulled him into a hug. "Be strong. Be well. Come home soon."

"I will… Dad."

Gibbs made a small sound in the back of his throat.

"Yeah, that felt….weird. Think I'll stick to Gibbs for now."

"Works for me." Gibbs gently cuffed the back of Jack's head. Not quite a slap but still… "We'll talk more when you get back. We've got a lifetime of stories to catch up on."

"That we do."

My wish for you
Is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold

And while you're out there getting where you're getting to
I hope you know somebody loves you
And wants the same things too
Yeah, this is my wish, yeah yeah -
Rascal Flatts - My Wish – lyrics by songwriters: Steve Robson, Jeffrey Steele