AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
CHARACTER: Leroy Jethro Gibbs
SUB-GENRE: Episode Tag
SUMMARY: Set after Housekeeping. Gibbs is trying to get drunk, but he can't.
WORD COUNT: 500
SPOILERS: Engaged 1 and Housekeeping
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for ncis_drabble 'What?' Challenge.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
Gibbs sat in his basement, a glass of his high-proof whiskey in one hand, the bottle in front of him. He made no pretence of working on any of his projects. He hadn't gone down to the basement to work; he'd gone to get drunk.
Except tonight he couldn't.
He'd always had a very high tolerance for alcohol; he hadn’t met anyone he couldn't drink under the table. But tonight it seemed as if he couldn't even begin to get drunk. He'd downed half a bottle and he still didn't even feel tipsy.
And he knew why.
As hard as he tried, he couldn't get Stratton's words out of his mind: So why do you kill innocent people? And then the mocking rendition of Down Mexico Way . What had Stratton meant by his jibe? Was he trying to imply that Hernandez hadn't been guilty of murdering Shannon and Kelly?
Had he murdered (because Gibbs was under no illusion, no matter how justified he believed he was in shooting Hernandez, when it came down to it, he had murdered him) an 'innocent' man? Not that a drug dealer was ever innocent, they were all dirt-bags and Gibbs had rid the world of one and he wasn't sorry.
But had it been a mistake?
Had Mike gone after the wrong guy? Had he deliberately set Gibbs up? Had he had his own agenda for wanting Hernandez out of the way? Had he believed that the only good drug dealer was a dead one? Had he known he couldn't find Shannon and Kelly's killer so had simply gone with a man he'd wanted to get, but knew he couldn't?
Had he used Gibbs?
Gibbs downed another half a glass of whiskey and still felt nothing. He couldn’t believe, he didn't want to believe, that Mike had set him up; had used him. That wasn't the man he'd thought he'd known - but had he ever truly known Mike? Mike was dead now so he couldn't ask him. No, he had to believe he'd killed the right man; had to believe he'd killed the bastard who'd killed his girls.
His girls. He should let them go; he knew that. They'd both told him to. Kelly had waved goodbye to him, full of smiles, when he'd nearly drowned trying to protect Maddie. Only a few weeks ago Shannon had told him, 'How are you going to get what you need if you don't let me go'?
It was time.
It was way, way past time he let them go. Time he let himself love again. He only had to reach out; to say the word and he'd have the love he needed, the love he wanted, the love he was too afraid to reach for. The love he couldn't reach for until he knew the truth about what Stratton had said.
As the whiskey finally whacked him and he slumped forward, his head coming to rest on his arms, he knew what he had to do.