Gibbs tries to assess what he's done and come to terms with what he thought he'd known.
A Gibbs & Ducky centric Gen story.
Written: April 2010. Word count: 500.
It's over. In more ways than one.
The threat to his team has gone.
Hart and Bell are out of his life for good.
And he . . . He ordered the death of a man he had once called, boss, mentor and friend. A man he realizes he never really knew. With the death, so much of what he is, what he's been, so much of what he built his life, his career on, is also over.
They'd been four men he truly trusted, outside of the job, of course he trusted the kids, all five of them, on the job. Ducky, Fornell, Tom Morrow and Mike Franks. Three of them had never betrayed that trust. The fourth . . .
The fourth lies dead because he chose. He chose the team over the man who'd betrayed him.
"Jethro." Ducky's hand is firm on his arm, but he shakes it off and walks away. He can't talk to anyone; not even Ducky.
He chose - and Mike had made it easy. And yet it hadn't been easy. Not even knowing what Mike had done, the lies he'd told, his involvement with Hernandez, it still hadn't been easy to give him over to the drug cartel to save his team.
"Jethro." Ducky's hand is on his arm again. This time he doesn't shake it off. This time he takes the comfort, the friendship, the understanding, the sympathy Ducky is offering.
He turns. The kids have all gone. He doesn't know how, or where. He doesn't care. He can still see them standing there, all five of them so tightly grouped in a huddle; fear, shock, horror, pain on their faces. He can see them; but they've gone.
Ducky hands him a letter. As he takes it he looks into Ducky's eyes; he has to glance away from the pain he sees. He reads. He reads again. He reads for a third time. "Duck?" It's nothing more than a whisper.
"He made his choice, Jethro."
"You've read it?"
"He told me to. Once it was . . . Over. He told me to read it before you read it."
"But, it can't be true. It can't. Duck, I -" But he knows it's true. He feels the pain of burning tears at the back of his eyes, burning inside like the sun burns the outside.
And he knows.
Now he knows why with his dying breath Mike had said 'Don't forget Rule Three, Probie'.
"What happens now?"
"We go home. And you are coming to stay with me for a few days." Ducky's voice is firm; the one no-one, not even Gibbs, argues with.
But still. "I am?"
"Yes, you are. I am not leaving you alone in your house. You are coming to stay with me."
He was going to stay with Ducky.
"Jenn never should have brought him back."
"You know why she did."
Ducky frowns. There is no Rule Fifty-One. "Jethro?"
"You can't go back."
Ducky just nods, slips his arm though Gibbs's and leads him away.
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