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In less time than anyone should probably admit, every member of team Gibbs had assembled at their current office building. Hopefully, they would receive the sit rep to end all sit reps. Gibbs probably wouldn't out and out tell them anything but between all of them, they could usual find out enough to put together what had happened. Tony and Ziva had been awaiting Abby and Mcgee's arrival. Of course they would come. It was a night for family.
Gibbs was still nowhere to be seen. Eventually he would come and find them. That was how it worked. The boss went off on his schemes and they were left to wonder. Yes, sometimes he took them along, but not when it was this personal. Vendettas didn't tend to require them. Then he came back and everything that had sounded insane to begin with made perfect sense in the summary.
Months of their lives had been spent focused on the hunt for Dearing. Months more would be dedicated to fixing what he had broken. Their lives were not make believe. They couldn't wave a wand and right all that had gone wrong. Time was an option now. It could be said with growing certainty since the explosion. Now, they had futures solid enough to bother cleaning up for. Dearing was a ghost. He'd still be around to haunt them, but his days of havoc and damage were over.
Mcgee sat with Ziva to wait while Abby and Tony took turns pacing the room. They were a motley looking crew. Tony clearly hadn't left the office for days and the others were in equal stages of disarray. When Gibbs took down a terrorist, you didn't bother with little things like proper clothing before hightailing it to work. No matter how much changed, some things stayed the same. Find Gibbs, come together. Remember you're all still alive.
None of them had waited on Gibbs lately. It had been awhile. Dearing was the first to ignite this level of rage in their fearless leader in quite some time. Instead, Gibbs had been waiting on them, they'd been waiting on each other, hoping to make it through without losing another member of their family. He somehow usually ended up making tidy circles of their lives, bringing them all back to where they started. Dearing had made his actions about Gibbs. Gibbs had flipped the tables and solved the riddle, now Gibbs had been the one to finish it. The word was final. Dearing would not hurt his family again.
Aside from Tony and Ziva's initial questioning looks, everyone had chosen to ignore the blatant evidence of Abby's breakdown. Make up covered all manner of sins but it could turn on you. None of them were where they had been a lifetime ago. It was true. You could live a lifetime in a second, an hour or a day. It only mattered how much you put into it. With all they had been though lately, it counted as a lifetime. The birth and death of a tragedy. Epilogue to be determined.
Gibbs could see them before they saw him. It had happened often enough that it was now routine. As often as he snuck up on them, you'd really think they'd become more observant. Maybe it was good that they didn't. It was more than enlightening to watch them from the shadows. His senior field agent was being himself. "Hey, Ziva, how do you say "You killed my father, prepare to die. " in Hebrew?" Her response was quick, suspicion of her partner raising with each word out of his mouth. "Why?" "Probie wanted to know."
"No I didn't!" Mcgee was back in the game, balking at Tony's suggestion. The defense to DiNozzo's offense. The senior agent ignored the protest and resumed his main line of questioning. "Come on Ziva! Help out the linguistically challenged. You never know when you're going to need to be able to pull out some impressiveness." Once she decided to answer him, Ziva's response didn't sound right to Gibbs' ears.
If Gibbs had to guess he'd say it was Pashto. Or a dialect possibly. Abby chimed in helpfully. "That wasn't Hebrew." Tony turned on the Israeli. "You lied? Wait, how do you know it wasn't? You better not be learning it. You and Gibbs already have the secret sign language, stay out of my choice. She speaks like twenty languages pick another." Gibbs could hear Abby laughing from his hiding spot. "Relax Tony, rudimentary linguistics remember. I'm not learning Hebrew."
It was nice to listen to them. They provided the reassurance that life would go on. Gibbs shifted out of his corner and more fully into the room they inhabited. He had spent a long enough time taking them in. They did not need to be there, they had spent enough time away from their homes. It was time to reacclimate to life. Not that he believed for a second more than half of them would make it to their own apartments. Abby spotted him first.
He could hear the familiar "Gibbs, Gibbs, Gibbs" as she ran to meet him and pigtails obscured his vision. After his mandatory hug was received, the bombardment of questions began. They really needed to master how to not talk over each other. Years of working together and they were still doing it. Of the rapid fire set of twenty questions from four people, he probably registered half. If that. His resulting instruction was simple. "All of you go home."
They were dismissed. Gibbs didn't explain. Not how he knew where Dearing would be, or how things had ended. Or that it had been poetic enough on Dearing's part to be a plan Gibbs would have come up with on his own, roles reversed. It would ruin the magic if he told them. Some kind of black magic covering the past events as they had yet to be dissected for analysis.
If his gut could ever be understood it would automatically lose its' spot in the running for one of the wonders of the world. One of them had said that once. He didn't remember which, it was a long time ago. Eventually they would more than likely figure out everything that had happened. They were that good at their jobs. Would he put it past them to investigate him? Never. He had taught them after all. Done what he could to raise them into the people they had become.
For tonight, It was better they didn't know the details. They knew he was dead. That was enough. It needed to be enough. Tomorrow morning he might not be proud of his actions. Just or not. They didn't need to know that. What they did need to know was that they were a little safer now then they had been a few hours ago. His blood lust was temporarily satiated. Another monster dealt with. The never ending battle.
Though they had closed the book on Dearing, Gibbs knew that by dawn there would be dozens more lining up to take his spot. The wall never lacked in most wanted. Another proof they weren't done. The last time Gibbs had seen that wall it had been doing a decent job of letting in sunlight. However, maybe now they would have time to rebuild. And he didn't mean buildings.
They had walked towards their cars collectively. Gibbs left them first headed, as always, for the basement to introduce the next memory to its' silent memory. Tony and Ziva eventually broke away when they reached their destinations. Mcgee followed Abby back to her car. They weren't exactly together, but they weren't not together either. It was a hell of a lot closer than they had been to being anything in years.
After everything that had happened, it was probably the best way to be. He reverted to his new staring habit as she navigated towards his apartment. "You going to come back with me?" It didn't hurt to make sure. "I might, what if I decide that I don't want to leave?" Two could play that game. He was just as well versed at it as she was. "What if decide I don't want you to? I think that's a risk I can take." One act of terrorism, one bomb, had broken everything apart. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It was a law. Laws were rules and everyone knew they followed the rules. Well, most of the time. Maybe now things could fall together in harmony.