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Fic: What We Leave Behind (NCIS)

Title: What We Leave Behind
Author: kaylashay
Disclaimer: Do not own NCIS or the characters used.
Spoilers: Through Season 5 Requiem (does not spoil the contents of the box)
Warnings: Death of Character Mentioned
Timeframe: 5 years post-Requiem
Note: Not beta read. All mistakes are mine.

Summary: "For some life lasts a short while, but the memories it holds last forever." - Laura Swenson

Abby finally broke the silence of the last hour as she turned towards Tony. “Do you want to keep it?”

Tony shook his head to clear his thoughts before responding. “Yeah, I think I do. The bastard probably knew it was the only way to keep me in DC.”

“It’s not your fault, you know. Gibbs would have found a bullet that day no matter what. I don’t think he had another retirement in him, even if it was mandatory.”

Tony let out a sigh. “My brain knows that, but the rest of me hasn’t caught up yet. That bullet was meant for me Abs, not Gibbs. You know what one of the last things he said before he-- before he died was?”

Abby scooted closer to Tony on the wooden workbench and wrapped an arm around his shoulders. Tony was finally opening up about the day they lost Gibbs and it was tearing at her heart. She stayed silent to let him gather his thoughts.

“After he asked if I was okay, which was almost comical given the gaping bullet wound in his chest, he got this… look on his face.” Tony scrunched his face in concentration as he brought up the memories of that day.

“I had only seen it one other time, right after he opened his eyes five years ago on that dock. You know, I never told him I did CPR on him first. Probably would have slapped me for trying to save him before the girl. That and ‘kissing’ him without his permission.”

Abby chuckled lightly at his derailment. “Yeah, the Bossman would have slapped you silly for that one. So, I never did ask what it was like kissing Gibbs on the lips. I always wondered about that,” Abby said with a twinkle in her eye.

Tony leaned into her and let a small smile cross his face. “They were kinda clammy at the time. Probably that whole ‘on the brink of death’ thing. Maybe a hint of sawdust and coffee,” he added with a wink.

Abby looked around the basement they were sitting in, “Yeah, that’s what I always imagined.”

Tony dipped his head before going back to the original topic. “He was looking at me like he did when I had the plague and said, ‘I never said thanks.’ At first, I had no idea what he was talking about. Thanks for what? Thanks for causing him to get shot in my place?”

Abby tightened her grip on his shoulder, running her fingers in small circles.

“I must have said something out loud, because he got that ‘I’m slapping you right now, DiNozzo’ look on his face. Then he managed to move his hand up to cover my hands over the wound and squeeze them. He said-- He said, ‘I never thanked you for saving my life Tony. I’m just returning the favor.’ That’s when I told him he wasn’t going to die. He just coughed and told me that wouldn’t work on him.”

Tony stopped as a sob choked him up. Abby just whispered that it was okay in his ear, told him to let it all out, that she would be there for him.

“Damn!” he said loudly, causing Abby to jump. “I miss him Abby. I keep thinking he’s going to walk in at any moment and ask why the hell we’re in his basement. Like he’s back in Mexico with Franks and we’re just biding time ‘til he comes to his senses.”

“I know,” Abby said quietly. “I think the same thing. I knew it would hurt when we lost him, but I didn’t think it would be this much.”

“Yeah. That day on the docks I felt it. I looked down at him and he looked dead. Then I had to decide whether to keep working on him or switch to Maddie. Toughest choice of my life.”

“You gonna keep the boat in the basement?” Abby switched gears as she swung down off the bench and walked to the boat in question. She ran her hands over the smooth wood. “What number do you think this is?”

“Six or seven I think. He told me in the letter that if I kept the house, the boat stayed too and that I was suppose to finish it correctly or he’d come back and kick my ass. Told me it would teach me that patience he never got through my head.”

Abby laughed lightly before asking, “Can I help you with it?”

Tony stood up and walked behind her to take her into a hug. “Anytime Abs.”

“Thanks,” she whispered. They stayed in that place for several more minutes, before Abby pulled away. She walked over to the tape player she had seen before and glanced back at Tony. “I wonder if this has one of Gibbs’ five songs he listens-- listened to?”

“Don’t know. Why don’t you play it and see what the Bossman liked.”

Tony leaned back against the ribs of the boat skeleton while Abby hit play. Both gasped lightly as they heard the obvious sound of a piano lesson piece filter through the dusty room. As the piano music faded and they listened to the voices of Shannon and Kelly come through the speakers, both blinked back tears from their eyes.

“Guess we know what he liked to listen to,” Tony said to break the silence.

“Yeah,” Abby replied as she moved to pick up four more tapes sitting by the player. “Must be a different song on each one. What’s this?” She held up a folded piece of paper from between the tape cases. “It has our names on it.”

“Want to have a swig of his bourbon before we open that thing?” Tony asked in shaky voice.

“It won’t bite you silly,” Abby said as she lightly punched him in the arm. “Maybe slap you on the head.”

In an unspoken agreement, they sank to the floor and leaned back against the wood of the boat. Abby carefully unfolded the paper and held it between them.

I don’t know which one of you found this, but if I’m still alive you’ll wish you weren’t.

They both laughed at how they could almost hear his voice.

But if I’m dead, I’ll give you a grace period until I see you again. You both know I’m not good with words, but I figured I could write something out for you as long as I’m dead when your read it.

I thought of you both as if you were my own kids. I know you knew this already Abby, but Tony, I couldn’t have asked for a better son than you.

“The bastard,” Tony mumbled. “Why didn’t he tell me?”

“Do you think either of you could have had that conversation without lots of alcohol or a fist fight that Gibbs would have won?” Abby asked as she pulled him close. At his expression, she added, “I thought so.”

Don’t hesitate to smack some sense into him Abby. It’s your job now. And Tony, if I see Abby anytime before she’s old and grey, you won’t want to show your face near me. Got it?

“Got it Boss. Take care of Abby.” Abby just smiled at Tony’s response.

Take care of things there and however I went out, don’t blame yourselves. And there’s one more thing… Remember Maddie Tyler, Kelly’s friend? Make sure she knows about me and tell her it’s okay to take our memories from the backyard. Tell her that Kelly would have wanted it that way. Semper Fi

“That’s so Gibbs,” Abby said with conviction.

“Yeah, it is,” Tony agreed. “Wonder what memories he’s talking about? Think you can find her contact information?”

Abby pulled away from him and slapped him in the back of the head. “This is me you’re asking DiNozzo. Of course I can find her.”

Two Weeks Later

Tony and Abby smiled as they watched Maddie pull a dirt covered lunch pail from the ground. She had come from California after hearing what the note from Gibbs mentioned. She didn’t answer their questions as to what he had meant; just told them she would share it with them when she arrived.

They looked up at her soft voice. “Kelly and I buried a time capsule before she died. Jethro didn’t know we had done it, she never got a chance to tell him. Guess he wanted me to take the memories, so they wouldn’t be lost.”

Abby walked over and wrapped an arm around the younger woman. “Do you remember what’s inside?”

“A few things, but not all of it. I think--" Maddie paused for a moment before looking at the two. “Would you mind sitting with me while I look?”

“Not at all,” Tony said as he moved to join the two. “I always wondered what a child of Gibbs’ would be like, maybe now I can get an idea.”

Maddie looked up him with a smile. “Jethro said she would be a lot like me.”


( 27 Campfires — Leave a Comment )
Nov. 8th, 2007 12:45 am (UTC)
*sobs* oh damn that's so sad and so good!
Nov. 8th, 2007 12:59 am (UTC)
Thanks... Sorry for the tears... :-)
Nov. 8th, 2007 12:48 am (UTC)
Oh, that was so sweet! I kinda want to cry. :( It's so good, though, hon. Beautiful job. :)
Nov. 8th, 2007 01:00 am (UTC)
Sorry for the tears... The idea was forming last night when I put together the content list. I kept wondering what would become of the time capsule after Gibbs died.

Glad you liked!
Nov. 8th, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)
Sad. Yet really nice. Had some really nice bits in it, too.

I won't repeat all of them, this would get too long. Just liked it.
Nov. 8th, 2007 01:22 am (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback and glad you liked the bits I put in there.

Nov. 8th, 2007 01:05 am (UTC)
How can a story be so perfect but so wrong? It's beautiful, but Gibbs *can't* die. (Yes, I know he has to, but I'm going to remain in denial for as long as possible.) Very touching. Thanks.
Nov. 8th, 2007 01:24 am (UTC)
Yeah, Gibbs was saying he didn't want to die, but then he was like, I don't want to retire either. It was a catch 22 for him, so I made him choose between Tony dying or him and he chose to die... ;-)

Thanks for the feedback! I really wanted to know what would happen to the memories after Gibbs died, so this is it. :-)
Nov. 8th, 2007 02:34 am (UTC)
Very sweet! I liked the interaction between the characters.
Nov. 8th, 2007 02:45 am (UTC)
Thanks! Getting the characterization right is the thing that worries me the most...

Nov. 8th, 2007 03:50 am (UTC)
Love it! I'm torn, because I hate that Gibbs died, but like Abby, I don't know if he'd do permanent retirement well. Tis very sad, but you got the characters down perfectly.
Nov. 8th, 2007 03:58 am (UTC)
I actually spared Gibbs in another fic I did recently (posting it soon) but then offed him in this one. I kinda see Gibbs dying at the end of the series... it's either that or sailing off in a finished boat with no explanation as to how he got it out of the basement. But a meaningful death would be much better even if I never want to see him die on screen.

Thanks for the review and glad you liked my characterization!
Nov. 8th, 2007 03:54 am (UTC)
So sweet. I agree, I think Gibbs would do death much better than retirement. He just doesn't have it in him to relax. Loved the letter, the note regarding Maddie, the "coffee and sawdust" line, and Tony inheriting the boat especially. Lovely and a little mournful without being destructive--a perfect "ending" for Gibbs, really.
Nov. 8th, 2007 04:02 am (UTC)
In my head, I see the show ending with Gibbs dying just before they boot him out of the field because of the mandatory retirement age for field agents. Some kind of 'in the line of duty' death where he is saving a random person in a related case or more likely one or more of his team.

I figured Gibbs probably wouldn't want the exes getting the house so it would either be Tony or Abby that he would leave it to. And I couldn't pass up adding something about the CPR kiss. This is Tony and Abby talking after all.

Thanks for the review!
Nov. 8th, 2007 10:13 pm (UTC)
Hi there! This comment isn't related to this post at all, I'm just commenting on your most recent entry because I noticed that you friended me recently and I always offer newcomers to my journal a chance to be on a filter I maintain.

It's called the "Fics In Progress Babble" filter, and it's the place where I talk about the projects I currently have underway. No actual fic, or parts of fic, gets posted to the filter, just word counts, requests for help when I get stuck, updates on the status of current stories, plot bunnies I might write in the future, and so on.

People have to specifically ask to be on the filter because I refuse to tease people with stories that may never be written or posted unless they knowingly sign up for said teasing. :-)

Nov. 8th, 2007 10:19 pm (UTC)
Sounds fun... I like hearing others plot splats. I have so many of my own that don't get past the splat phase. Babble is fun to read.

I came to your journal from reading your NCIS fics. I really enjoy the Myths and Revelations fics even when I didn't think I would from reading a summary. I was like, 'Gibbs as a centaur... eh?', even skipped over them a few times. Then when I finally read them, I couldn't stop. I was like, 'Gibbs as a centaur... This is so cool...'. Even enjoyed the Numb3rs/CSI:NY add on and it's one of the reasons I've started watching CSI:NY now. Never did before.

Oh, and HI back!
Nov. 13th, 2007 05:23 am (UTC)
You're on the filter now! Welcome to the insanity. :-)

I'm glad you gave Myths and Revelations a try despite the centaurs! *g* Most new readers these days take awhile (and some desperation for new fic *g*) to get around to reading them, but so far I seem to be able to suck them into the universe, at least judging by feedback. :-) Thanks so much for your comments!
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 8th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
Gee... I need to hand out tissues when I post. Everyone's been saying I made them cry.

I've got another one I'm posting tonight hopefully that has more death that's riling people up that've read it. I guess I better be careful since I'm just starting to write NCIS... :-)

Thanks for reviewing and sorry for the tears!

*hands you a tissue*
Nov. 9th, 2007 01:58 am (UTC)
Just had to say I *loved* this fic. It had "omigosh"moments, and "Ahwwwwww." moments, and everything I like in a fic.
I think your characterization was right on.
And! it had just enough Tony/Abby love to make me happy.

I would love to read more of your NCIS fics.
Nov. 9th, 2007 02:15 am (UTC)
Thanks for the review!

I've got more NCIS in the works, including a Gibbs/Tony piece, a Tony character study and a team-ish type fic.
Nov. 9th, 2007 04:54 am (UTC)
I think everyone was hoping there'd be some good fic written after this episode and you've handed us a real gem here. It punches all the right buttons I look for in a finely crafted piece: humor, drama, and a healthy helping of angst. Oh, yeah. And I don't mind that it centers around Gibbs' death, not at all. It was presented with such an uplifting, positive slant and, for the topic you selected, that's a remarkable feat. Nicely done- Matt
Nov. 9th, 2007 03:56 pm (UTC)
*glows from the review*

I was one of those hoping to read some good fic from the episode, never expected to write something of my own from it since I just started writing in the NCIS fandom. I hate killing characters, but I wanted to know what would happen to those memories after Gibbs was gone. I didn't want to leave them forgotten, so getting Tony and Abby to let Maddie take them was the answer.

The mix of humor/drama/angst is what draws me into NCIS... along with the character interaction. You can tell that the actors get along well with each other and it shows up in their characters.

Anyway, thanks for the lovely review!
Nov. 9th, 2007 05:20 pm (UTC)
*sobs* should not be reading this at work as tears are not professional.

Just wonderful and sad and really just perfect. Great job!
Nov. 9th, 2007 05:53 pm (UTC)
And another cryer checks in... *hand out my last tissue*

Thanks for reviewing!

The idea hit and I ran with it.
Nov. 17th, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC)
And because you seriously broke me on this fic, you'll just have to do with already left feedback as well:

You weren't supposed to make me want to cry tonight! Damn it. I've had one of those days anyway. I finished reading My Sister's Keeper this morning and it brought me to tears. I was the dumb one that tried to finish reading it at my office. I had to keep setting it down and walking away, trying really, really hard not to cry.

Aww, poor Tony, having Gibbs die in his place. That must be completely awful! As much as I love my friends, and I know they love me, I would hope they would never do something like that. It would hurt too much!!

Great job with the voices of Gibbs, Tony and Abby. You managed to get them all right :)

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful little fic :) Even if you did make me wanna cry! :(
Oct. 8th, 2008 05:23 am (UTC)
Abby and Tony's reactions were perfect, and the letter seemed exactly what Gibbs would do. I loved it.
Jan. 10th, 2010 04:04 pm (UTC)
So sad but just perfect, of course Abby knew how he felt but Tony would never have been certain, it's definitely not a conversation he and Gibbs would have held easily. Beautifully done.
( 27 Campfires — Leave a Comment )

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