Notes: The title comes from a song called "Seasons in the Sun." (The previous statement here wasn't accurate, so I am making an edit)... The song is about a dying man saying goodbye to loved ones. Sometimes, the song can be interpreted as someone getting ready to commit suicide. In that light, the warning I am passing, is that this story will not be about suicide, but will center around death.
We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun,
But the wine and the song, like the seasons, have all gone…
Chapter 1 – Seasons in the Sun
It was another late night at the office for Tim. It was after 11, and he was the last person left in the squad room. A cup of coffee sat next to him, untouched, as he stared at lines of code on his computer screen. They were on the trail of a hacker, and Gibbs was adamant that Tim break through the code sooner than later. Tim, of course, volunteered to stay late, and Gibbs had no problem with that.
Tim sat back and rubbed his eyes. He had a feeling he might be there all night. As he reached for his coffee, his cell phone vibrated in his pocket. He felt a jolt in his stomach when he saw the caller ID.
"Penny?" he said tiredly.
"Timothy, I've been trying to call you for hours. Is something wrong with your phone?"
Tim looked down at his phone for a split second. He did indeed have several missed calls.
"I'm sorry Penny. I'm working late tonight."
"I need to talk to you. It's important."
Tim straightened in his chair.
"What's wrong, Penny?" Tim asked the question, but he was pretty sure he already knew why she was calling.
"It's your father, Timothy. He's in Intensive Care at Bethesda. He's in a coma."
Tim felt his heart tighten inside his chest. He'd known this day would come, but he never thought in a million years it would be this soon.
"Timothy? Are you still there, sweetheart?"
"Y-yeah, Penny. I was—"
Both of them were silent for a few moments. Neither of them knew what to say next. It was Penny that broke the silence.
"Can you get away to come down to the hospital, Timothy?"
Tim felt her question hit him in the gut. He'd been avoiding visiting his father during his illness, usually making the excuse that he had to work, even when he didn't.
"Yeah, I can come right now, Penny. I'll see you soon."
He hung up without another word. He got out a pencil and paper, and wrote Gibbs a note to explain his absence, and left it on his desk. He returned to his desk, saved his work and e-mailed it to Abby with a brief explanation, turned off his monitor, and left.
The Intensive Care unit at Bethesda was the quietest place he'd ever been in a hospital. It was an unsettling quiet. As he passed each room, looking for his father, the only sound to be heard was the beeping and whirring of the machines keeping people alive.
He looked down at the paper the front desk had given him with his father's room number on it, and back up at the number of the next room. They were a match. He hesitated for a brief moment. He wasn't sure what he'd be seeing when he went into the room, but he was sure he wasn't ready to see it. He saw bodies every day, people who were gravely injured. He could handle this, right?
Tim took a deep breath and stepped into the room. His breath caught when he saw his father's condition. He'd lost a considerable amount of weight. And he was gaunt and pale. He was hooked up to a ventilator, unable to breathe on his own. Tim also noticed the tube from a catheter hanging over the side of the bed, attached to a bag.
Penny, who had been seated next to her son's bed, got up when Tim entered the room and enveloped him in a comforting hug.
"I'm so glad you're here, Timothy," she said with a weary sigh. "I thought I wouldn't be able to tear you away from that desk of yours."
Tim lowered his eyes for a brief moment, then brought his gaze back to his Grandmother.
"Gibbs will have to function without me for a little while." He took a step toward the Admiral's bed, but stopped short. "How long has he been in a coma?" Tim asked shakily.
"Two days. His secretary found him on the floor in his office, and called an ambulance." She glanced at the still figure in the bed and wiped a tear from her eye. "When he got worse, I told him to take early retirement, but you know your Father. He wouldn't have it."
"Dad was always career-oriented. Mom never was able to tear him away from his work for more than 24 hours at a time."
"My son, the work horse," Penny said with a chuckle.
A noise brought their attention back to the Admiral. He'd begun to make a gurgling sound as he breathed. Tim's breath caught in his throat. This wasn't how he wanted to say goodbye to his father. Without warning he turned and swiftly went for the door.
"Where are you going?" Penny asked.
"I need some air," he called over his shoulder. "I'll be back."
Tim left the room and found the waiting room. It was empty. There were couches and a television hooked up with an old VCR. Anger surged through him. He turned and punched the wall next to the door, leaving a hole in the plaster. Shaking, he slid down the wall and buried his face in his knees as tears slipped down his cheeks. This wasn't something he wanted to deal with right now. He couldn't.