Jimmy helped him pack, boxing up things that he'd long since forgotten that he had. They got everything in the moving truck and sent it on ahead, for the military transport, and they hugged and exchanged information, and Jimmy told him, "Call, Tony. All right? Please?"
He'd nodded, and actually meant it, because Palmer actually wanted him to. He'd said, "I will Jimmy. Maybe not right away, but – I will."
Jimmy nodded, "That's good enough for me."
IT was nice. Nice to know he was good enough, for someone. That he didn't have to explain himself to everyone.
Ziva and McGee both reacted about the same way. A little laugh that cut far, far deeper than it should have. Abby got mad, Ducky just hugged him, called him "My dear boy" and went off to scarp his information from Palmer.
He stood outside of Gibb's house that night, wondering if he really wanted this. Until he went in there, he didn't have to go. He could back off, back away, tell Vance he'd changed his mind.
But he didn't want to do that. Vance had encouraged him to take the job, told him that he should be recognized for his talents. The job in Italy wasn't a lead position, but after Gibb's retirement fiasco he hadn't wanted one. The man he was under seemed nice, and the warmer climate would be better on his still struggling lungs. It was a good descicion, one of the truly good one's he'd made in his life.
He opens the door, goes down into the basement, tells Gibbs everything. Confession is good for the soul, after all, or so Kate told him.
Pain is good for it too. He figured he'd had enough of both to reform him permanently.
Gibbs didn't say anything a long minute once he'd spoken, just nodded, "Good for you."
He was so stunned he didn't even protest as Gibbs drew him closer, kissing the top of his head, almost like a benediction, "Good for you."
Of all the possible reactions, he hadn't expected that, and he smiled a little, letting Gibbs hold onto him a minute until they both became uncomfortable. Gibbs asked him, "When are you flying out?"
He tells him, "A couple of days."
Gibbs nods, "You have your stuff all packed up?"
He ends up spending three days in Gibbs' spare room, helping him work on a boat and drinking bourbon. They don't say much, they never did. Gibbs drove him to the airport, stood with him until his flight was called, then gave him a hug that lasted half a second and handed him an envelope. "Here."
He takes it, without thinking, and begins to open it, but Gibbs swats him on the back of his head, "Get. Your flight's goin to leave without you."
It isn't until after he's buckled up and their taxiing down the runway that he opens it, smiling at the terse note.
For my son...
It was a medal, he'd long since told Gibbs he was a lapsed Catholic, and he smiled as he saw which one. St. George. The Patron Saint of heroes.