Author's Note: Here is the final chapter. I'm sad for it to end, but that is the fate of both stories and episodes. Thank you for the encouragement, feedback, favs and alerts! And another huge thank you to Lisa W., my copy editor/beta reader extraordinaire!
Chapter 12 Damages
David Turner sat alone in the NCIS interrogation room, where, for the last two hours, he had alternated between sitting and pacing. Gibbs entered and sat in the chair across the table from his suspect. After several minutes of cold silence, Gibbs opened the folder he had brought with him. He looked at a photo and shook his head then placed the picture down on the table. He slid it over to David. "Your handiwork."
"What's that supposed to be?" Turner challenged.
"That?" Gibbs asked, pointing to the color photo. "That's what's left of your sister."
Turner turned away from the picture in disgust. "I never had a sister."
"Okay, then, your brother."
Turner remained silent.
"Why'd you do it? The money?"
"Do what, Agent"—he leaned forward and squinted—"oh, excuse me, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs?" He snickered. "Seriously? And what exactly is it you think I did, Leroy?"
"Oh, we know what you did. We want to know why."
Turner picked at a fingernail.
Gibbs licked his lips and stared Turner in the eyes. "You ever see combat, Marine?"
Turner moved slightly in his chair. "Not yet."
"Not yet? Your career as a Marine is over, Sergeant. Your records say 'no.' No, you haven't. So, was your sister was your first kill? Or have you killed before?"
"I never had a sister," Turner repeated, but his tone had changed.
"Never saw combat. Never fought a person who wasn't fighting back. You like them defenseless."
Turner's face reddened. "Dani wasn't really a woman, if that's what you mean!"
"What exactly was she, Marine?"
Turner, jaw clenched, crossed his arms. "A freak."
Gibbs opened his folder again. He pulled out two graphic color images of Tony's leg, taken in the emergency room. He placed them on the table in front of his suspect. "This is your work, too."
"I don't know what you're talking about." Turner's voice had a tremor.
"You know what caused that injury?" Gibbs looked at the one-way window and gestured for someone to join him. "Let me show you."
Gibbs pulled the photos back and return them to the folder. Seconds later the door opened and McGee stepped in, holding a piece of rebar in his left hand. Gibbs rose and snapped his fingers twice for the rebar. McGee placed it in Gibbs' outstretched hand.
McGee stood at the door, feet shoulder-width apart, his arms crossed in front of his chest. His jaw clenched and unclenched as he stared at the suspect.
Gibbs held up the rebar. "This is what rammed into my agent's leg. Because of your bomb." Without warning, Gibbs swung the rebar in the air and crashed it down on the table in front of Turner.
Turner leaped back, tipping his chair backwards.
"Sit down!" Gibbs yelled. He grabbed the chair and slammed it back down at the table.
Tim hadn't flinched; hadn't blinked.
"You aware of what time it is, Sergeant?" Gibbs said, his tone once again calm. Scary-calm.
Turner returned to his chair, his eyes wary. "They took my watch."
"It's after hours," Gibbs answered. "You know what that means?"
Turner shifted his eyes to the rebar and shook his head.
Gibbs remained at Turner's side— intentionally too close for comfort. He leaned down to Turner's ear and whispered, "It means I'm willing to stay as long as it takes, Marine."
Turner didn't move.
Gibbs lowered his whisper further. "And nobody will be able to hear you."
Gibbs could see the perspiration on Turner's forehead and continued, "We have all the proof we need. You left an evidence trail wide enough to drive a Humvee through. We want to know why. Why you killed Danielle. Why you nearly killed my agent."
Gibbs stepped back from the table. "Tell him what we got, McGee, before I hit something else with this rebar."
McGee moved to the table. "You consider yourself a man, Turner?"
"Then I take it your blood is not full of synthetic female hormones?"
Turner wiped sweat from his temple, where it threatened to drip down his face.
"Your blood is different from hers. So are your fingerprints. You left lots of evidence in Danielle's car that was found on your grandparents' property where the tunnel ended. It's over. But, like my boss said, we want to know why. You might say we're funny that way." He looked over at Gibbs who still held the rebar in his hands, ready to strike. "Well, I'm funny that way. He's never funny. Tell us about the money."
Turner finally broke. "You know what she was planning to do with that money?"
"Tell us," McGee prodded.
"She was going to give it away! Give it away! Over a million dollars!"
"Her damages, her money," Gibbs stated. "Sounds fair enough."
"I was damaged too! Nobody ever cared!" the man stood up, agitated.
"Sit down," Gibbs said again sharply. His eyes flashed with anger.
Turner dropped back onto the chair. "Half that money should have been for me! They favored Danielle our whole life!"
"Our parents, who else? 'Danielle this,' and 'Danielle that.' 'David watch out for your sister.' 'David, take care of Danielle.' It was finally her turn to watch out for me. She didn't even send me a birthday card. Just took her money and spent the evening with her girlfriend. She was supposed to be my twin! My twin brother! Closer than anybody! Truth is she didn't even know who she was. So she decided to donate all that money. Not to me, no! No, she was going to give all of it to some damn gender education group, because she said it was 'more complex than the so-called experts think'! Have you ever heard anything so ungrateful?"
"So you killed her. And blew her to kingdom come when my men got close. Damn near killed one of them, too." Gibbs tossed the rebar to the floor and lowered his voice, his words crystal clear. "You're no Marine. You're a disgrace."
McGee entered the bull pen, walking past Tony's empty desk with a strange feeling. He sat down at his own desk and smiled over at Ziva, who returned his smile.
"I miss him, too," she said. "Although, once he gets back, we will never believe or admit that we ever felt like this."
McGee laughed. "True," he said, but he knew different. He remembered Tony's difficult return from the plague and how he and Kate had gotten mad at DiNozzo the day he returned. That had been right before Kate died. Life had gotten a lot more complicated that week. Less innocent. And now Tony had nearly died again.
At least this time, McGee knew Tony had protected him from the worst of the blast, and that he, in turn, had kept Tony alive, despite the odds. Even when the pranks and the name-calling and the teasing returned, those facts would temper their relationship. "Ducky said Tony gets to go home soon. Maybe, even tomorrow."
McGee looked down at a package on his desk, then up at Ziva.
"Tony asked me to bring that to you. He said he wanted you to know that he picked it out, even if he had his father pick it up, and that you deserved it."
McGee opened the wrapping at one end and slid a box out. He removed the lid.
"Oooh, nice," Ziva chimed in, noticing the quality of the fabric and stitching. "Italian, yes?"
McGee nodded as he looked in the box and set his eyes on a four-leaf clover silk tie. "Ferragamo. Nice," McGee agreed.
He opened the small card enclosed with the tie. "I, Anthony DiNozzo Jr., now being of sound mind and mending body, do solemnly swear that you, Timothy 'Tim' McGee, are a good agent."
Ziva sat on the corner of Tony's desk and faced McGee. "He is fiercely loyal to you, McGee. I hope you know that."
"He's pretty loyal to you too, Ziva. I mean, you weren't here when you were gone . . . ."
"That is true," she laughed. "I was not."
"I guess that sounded pretty stupid. I just meant that, well, those words he said to you about why he had to come, you know, to Somalia. I hope you know they were true."
"He was on truth serum, McGee," Ziva reminded him.
"Yeah, I guess he was."
"Perhaps we all have something to learn from Tony." She silently cursed herself for saying the words aloud. "But if you tell anyone that, I will deny it, and then I will have Abby kill you and leave no evidence."
"Why not just kill me yourself, then?" he pushed.
"Too obvious." Ziva grinned and left the room, leaving McGee wondering what on earth had just happened.
Anthony DiNozzo Senior again found himself in Gibbs' basement. But this time, the feelings were more cordial.
They had been drinking.
"So, I'm not here neglecting my fatherly duties, Gibbs, just so you know."
"I mean, I'd love to spend the evening with Ziva myself, but it's not in the cards, you know?"
"I mean, I don't think there's anything going on between those two, but maybe there should be, if you know what I mean. But three's a crowd. She's cooking for him, I know that much. Beyond that I don't ask too many questions."
"Good. Don't." Gibbs retreated into a corner of the makeshift shop and opened a cupboard. He pulled out a box and removed two cigars. He handed one to DiNozzo Senior and bit the end of his own, lit it, then handed over the lighter.
Senior placed the cigar under his nose and inhaled deeply. "Nice. Cuban, I assume?" He reached into a pocket and pulled out a sterling cigar clip and caught Gibbs' amused expression. "A gift—from a lady friend," he added.
Gibbs chuckled and shook his head. "Of course it is."
"What's the occasion?"
Gibbs took a sip of bourbon and puffed appreciatively on his cigar. "Congratulations. You're becoming a father."
Senior remained silent a moment, admiring the cigar's deep, rich aroma. "I guess I am, at that!" He held his drink up and Gibbs did the same, clinking glasses in the shared solitude of Gibb's basement.
"Now, don't screw it up."
"No, really, Ziva, I can't eat any more. I'm stuffed." Tony leaned back on his sofa. "Your marinara sauce was incredible. The whole dinner was incredible."
Ziva looked at Tony carefully, reading the fatigue in his hazel eyes. She noticed how he tensed up and held his breath when he shifted position, trying to get comfortable. "You need rest. I will do the dishes. Then, if you are up to it, we can watch the end of your movie."
Tony grabbed her arm as she started to rise. "Let's just watch the rest of the movie now. The dishes can wait."
"At least let me get your pain medication. You have not had any since I arrived, and that was hours ago."
"They just knock me out, or worse. I'll take one when you leave, I promise."
"Well, if you promise," she gave in. "Let us just sit a minute. Nice movie stand, by the way. New?"
Tony smiled. "Yeah. It's Italian olive wood."
Silence hung heavily in the air, and Tony looked at Ziva, her expression now somber. "Uh, oh . . . I know that look."
"Tony . . . McGee told us what you did. How you protected him—"
Tony interrupted her as a pink flush began to creep up from his neck. "Look, I fell. I fell on McGee. He's the one who saved my life. If he hadn't done what he did, with the, uh, well, you know, the tourniquet, and getting help, I'd be as dead as Danielle Turner. The one to be commended here is McGee. Don't let anybody take that away from him."
Ziva smiled and she nodded her understanding. "You are a good man, Anthony DiNozzo Jr."
"And you are a good woman, Ziva David."
She pulled her end of the coffee table closer, being careful not to dislodge the pillows from under Tony's leg. She settled back onto the couch and took a sip of wine.
Tony clicked the movie back on and let Humphrey Bogart's distinctive voice soothe him into a trance. He leaned his head back into the soft leather of the couch, eyes closed, with a contented smile on his tired face. "See? This is way better than drugs . . . ."