Gibbs turned towards a voice he hadn't heard for years. "Saver," he said with surprise. "I heard," with a head nod that could only be a Gibbs move, "I heard about…"
Gibbs watched the younger Marine struggle with his inner turmoil. He had seen it before, hell he had lived it before. Knowing he needed to change the topic quickly he asked, "What are you doing here?" Here being a hole in the wall bar in Ramstein, Germany.
"Layover on the way to Afghanistan," swallowing hard, "I'm going to interrogate…" Xavier St. Cloud couldn't say the name. 'What was that kid series with the wizards…he who shall not be named.' He wondered to himself.
Gibbs nodded and patted his friend on the shoulder. "Come on, I'll buy you a beer."
Xavier asked, "What are you doing here? I heard you got out just after I saw you last."
It was Gibbs turn to swallow hard. "I lost Shannon and Kelly three days after I saw you last Saver."
"Damn it Gunny. How? Never mind, it's, I fuck, I'm sorry."
Gibbs nodded once. "Drug dealer. Shannon saw and well …"
"Being Shannon she reported whatever she saw." Xavier filled in.
"Yeah he killed the agent assigned to her, he happened to be driving the car they were in."
"Boss, nothing for about six hours," a tall man said, sitting down at the table Gibbs and Saver had taken.
"Dinozzo, Master Sergeant Xavier St. Cloud. Xavier, Special Agent Tony Dinozzo, my SiC."
Xavier raised an eyebrow in question at the title.
Dinozzo filled him in, "NCIS, Major Case Response Team."
"Ahh the navy cops, Xavier smiled.
"Dinozzo go see what's keep the beers?"
"Sure boss." The younger agent popped out of the chair he had been sitting in backwards and walked towards the bar.
Gibbs and Xavier where silent for a moment, but it was because Xavier was watching Gibbs. There was something different about the man he remember, granted it had been years since he had seen the Gunnery Sergeant but still.
Then Gibbs turned towards the bar and looked for the agent and it clicked. He had seen that look to many times before to not know it. It was a man looking for his partner in an unfamiliar place. Not his work partner, his life partner. He had seen it in Shawn and Lances faces every time they had gone out on an op.
"How long Gibbs?"
Gibbs looked at Xavier and thought for a moment about asking him what he meant but he wouldn't down play either relationship. His and Tony's or the long ago one between him and Saver.
"About two years."
"He know or is it one sided?"
"He knows," Gibbs chuckled, "his side stared it."
"He make you happy?"
Gibbs nodded, "Yeah."
"Should have known you would see it after all the time you spent with…" Gibbs left the names unsaid.
"With Shawn and Lance," Saver said the names, his voice strained and sad, "yeah I saw it."
"You seeing anyone for the?" Gibbs stopped again letting the other man pick up what needed to be asked without being spoken.
"Yeah, new shrink works more as a best friend than head shrinker, seems to be helping. I'm here and not comatose."
"Still watching everything in the room and you haven't relaxed a single muscle yet," Gibbs said.
"Said it was helping, not that I was 100%. I haven't been around this many people since that day Gunny."
"It will get better," Gibbs offered.
"I know, it is, I'm just itching to get home and I haven't even gotten there yet. I," Xavier sighed, "I miss Emiko, two weeks and I can't live without her. But I have to for two weeks."
Gibbs nodded, he remember the first time he was away from Shannon. It had been hard and he hadn't been fighting inner demons.
Tony reappeared with three tankards of beer. "Boss" he said sliding one over to his right and then he nodded when he slid the one to the left for Xavier. "What did he call you earlier, Saver?"
"Yeah," Xavier sighed, "I saved a firefighters life and the chief called me the Savers Saver. The name stuck."
"What he's not going to tell you is he was sixteen at the time and not long after became an EMT." Gibbs offered up.
"Yeah well," Xavier said with a shrug.
Gibbs lifted his chin, "Saver what happened?"
"The kid from Rumalia," That was all that he needed to say, Xavier knew Gibbs would understand.
Nodding once, Gibbs said, "Yeah I remember him."
"He moved on to Afghanistan, told…" Xavier struggled but still couldn't make himself say the name. "Damn what am I doing? I can't go in and interrogate him, I can't even say his name."
"Like Voldemort, he who shall not be named." Tony said in a great English accent, "Ralph Fiennes is awesome."
Xavier laughed for the first time in days, "Yeah like him."
"Just find your patronus." Tony offered, paused, fixed his hair after Gibbs slapped him in the back of the head. Turning towards Gibbs, Tony continued, "what he needs, is to find his one happy memory, so he can face the guy right. You did it when you…anyways you did it."
"I wasn't using a happy thought Tony." Gibbs said sadly and softly, thinking about the day he almost drawn with Kelly's childhood friend Maddy Tyler.
"Yes you were, you just are thinking about it backwards."
Gibbs shook his head. "Never mind the walking movie trivia box over here."
"Thanks for the beer Gibbs, but I've got to go. Need to grab my gear and find my plane."
Xavier was out the door and half way to the parking lot when he heard his name being called. He stopped and turned slowly but was braced for anything.
"Expecto partonus," Tony said jogging up to him.
"What?" Xavier looked at the handsome agent like he was crazy, but at the same time saw what could have drawn Gibbs to him.
"The spell in the movie. That's how you summon your personal shield. It takes on a life of its own, but will protect you until you have no more energy. Even if it is from a kids movie, maybe give it a try, just remember it works best with the happiest memory you have," with that the tall young agent ran back into the bar and left Xavier stunned on the sidewalk.
Did he have a happy thought? With a smile he said aloud to no one, "Yeah I have a couple," with that he walked to the parking lot.
Standing outside the door Xavier put his hand on the knob and waited. He took a couple deep breaths looked left looked right and said to softly for anyone to hear "Expecto patronus," and turned the door knob.
"Well, well, who do we have here?" Xavier said walking into the cell holding his former torturer. He watched as all of the color drained out of the man's face. With a smile, he walked up to the man chained to the table and chair, and leaned forward. The man, used to in the face tactics stood his ground and didn't move away. This suited Xavier just fine as he said, "My fiancée says I should thank you for being a lousy shot, and she said I should do this," Xavier leaned farther in and rubbed his nose twice across the man's nose, "and my friends you killed agree."
The man jerked back as if he had been slapped, trying to reach his face with his hands, but the restraints wouldn't allow it.
"So now about those plans you guys have for…"
The last bit is from my book Saver's Savior. It can be found in print and on the Kindle.
Take a look and support a "starving artist."