Summary: You can never really heal without saying goodbye.
Spoilers: After first season finale
Thanks to my beta Slynn who doesn’t even watch NCIS!
Disclaimer: They are mine, really they are, it’s just CBS doesn’t know that.
Everyone says without closure, you cannot move on. When someone that is loved is taken suddenly, mourning that loss is especially difficult as the shock of the death is multiplied by the sheer frustration of the absence of the loss. If the mourner(s) can receive that needed closure, they can begin the process of healing, but until then…
He walked into the cemetery, one lone flower in his hand. He walked up and stood in front of the tombstone, HER tombstone. He couldn’t believe his hands were shaking as he placed the flower, a rose, on her name. Looking around nervously, he was relieved not to see anyone near where he was standing. This meant he could freely talk out loud, he NEEDED to talk out loud.
“Kate,” he began, his voice cracking on the name. He hadn’t been able to say her name since that day. That awful day when she was literally blown away, something that should never have happened. One moment they had let their guard down. One stupid, dumb, inexplicable moment.
“Kate,” he repeated more firmly, “I know. I should have come before. It’s been over a month. I…I know you are disappointed. Well, probably in a lot of things since…that day.”
He felt like he was sweating though it was a sunless day. A perfect day to do this, “I guess you know I didn’t go to the funeral. That was stupid and thoughtless on my part. I haven’t been anywhere. Just home thinking about…”
He knelt down, feeling like he was lacking the strength to stand. Once he was down, he realized he was actually moving closer to her, and it reminded him of when she leaned closer to him. Had it been only two months ago? It seemed like ages, when it was his turn to be close to death. He remembered the fear in her eyes and that memory created a small dose of comfort…it was good to know she did care.
“I just went back to work the other day. Remember after I came back from being sick and you guys were telling me to take it easy? That I shouldn’t push myself too hard because I could have a relapse? Well, you were right. I did go back too early,” he smiled a little. “I couldn’t stand being at home though. I so wanted to go see you guys, to be back on the team again. I really thought…”
This time he laughed. He couldn’t believe how selfish he had been, “I really thought my first day back, you, Gibbs and Proby would have this big welcome party for me. You know? I would get this whole honeymoon of ‘Oh, Tony, this place hasn’t been the same since you have been gone!’ and I would just eat it up. Course,” he sighed, “that isn’t what happened.”
“I was so disappointed, I completely forgot about what I wanted to do. We jumped right into that case and then with Gibbs’ life in danger, there wasn’t any time..”
He broke off again. The smile he originally held was gone and the tears came back. He almost got up and left, but he was going to do this. Kate deserved to know.
“I was going to thank you. Really thank you. You…you saved my life.”
There was a long pause as he heard the wind behind him kick up. It was going to rain soon. He didn’t want to hurry. He wanted to do this right.
“I know you are wondering what I’m talking about. When I lay in that quarantine unit nearly coughing up my lungs…I almost gave up. I know that people think that Gibbs saved my life. I remember him talking to me like he thought he could WILL me to get better. I guess he did help in part…but…” he looked down at the flower he left, suddenly feeling like it was stupid. He was stupid. Everything was stupid.
“It was you. You stayed, Kate. You didn’t leave me. I know we have fought and joked and been harsh with each other, but there isn’t anything in the world I wouldn’t do for you. Do you remember when you went out with my old Frat buddy? I was so jealous, but I warned him, I’m sure he didn’t tell you. If he had hurt you…”
He stopped, looking around. In the distance he saw people visit a grave. He watched them a few minutes, wondering if they felt as much loss as he did. He decided to stand back up.
“Anyway, it was you. I…just went back to work since you’ve been gone. I rushed going back when I was actually sick but now that I’m physically fine I didn’t want to go back at all. Gibbs kept calling, he actually was being patient and I knew he needed me. I did try. I would get dressed in the morning, but when it came time for me to leave…I didn’t. Ducky and Abby both called too. I guess, of all people, Tim was the one that convinced me. He said…” he began tearing up again as he remembered the younger man’s words, “he said that you wanted to visit us all at work…but if I didn’t come back, then you couldn’t visit.”
“I guess I’m pathetic if Proby feels sorry for me. I am trying to call him Tim now. It’s tough to remember but he has earned it. Gibbs didn’t say anything when I got back, just told me to get ready that we had a case. Abby, Ducky, Tim, and Gibbs, they all miss you too. Abby has been wearing white in mourning which you know,” he smiled again, “is so her.”
He felt a raindrop hit him. He didn’t want to stick around for the eventual storm. He decided to make his goodbyes.
“I just wanted to come by and say goodbye. I know I should have gone to the funeral, should have been here sooner, should have done a lot of things, like take that bullet-” at that he couldn’t stop the tears. They were flowing now and the truth came out. He wished he was the one dead, not her. “You succeeded at everything you did, even keeping me AND Gibbs alive. I know I’m a better person for knowing you. I hope, one day, I will get to know you again.”
With that, he walked off. He still felt stupid, especially since he had to walk past the newly arrived grieving family who noticed him as well. But a relief had washed over him, something he hadn’t expected. Maybe he could get through this.
Closure through a real goodbye does wonders for a soul. No matter how corny it sounds, it can do a great deal of good and help you push through your sorrow and depression. I guess this can all sound a bit too simplistic, especially to someone who is experiencing it for herself. But it never hurts to try and listen. Did it help, Kate?
Kate stood there. Tears were in her eyes as she watched Tony walk back to his car. Since arriving she felt lost, like she didn’t really belong. But with his goodbye, she knew she could wait. Wait for him, them, everyone. It was just a matter of time.