Character(s): Tony, Gibbs, Ziva, and Ducky
Prompt: We give voices to the dead
Word Count: 1016 words
Author's Notes: Beta'd by Christina (not on LiveJournal)
Summary: The teams lives all give meaning to the dead that they've lost
It wasn’t something that you would notice if you didn’t know the man before, but Tony had changed after Kate’s death. He became more mature, more aged. His life meant more to him now, because on that roof, he saw how easily it could be taken away from him. He also knew that, in his heart and in his actions, he needed to make her life count. That could have just as easily been him with a full metal jacket through his head. It had taken him a while to get used to Ziva. He still didn’t trust her when it came to anyone she knew from... back home... and it was probably for that reason that he watched her when Michael Rivkin came to DC. He needed to make sure that nothing like what happened with Ari happened again. He needed to make sure that they never lost another member of their team because of Ziva's connections. Rationally, he knew it wasn't her fault, but deep inside, there was a part that never healed, that never quite learned to trust, and all he saw was Kate, dead on that slab in the morgue. Along with making her life mean something, he needed to make her death mean something, which was probably why, when given the choice, Gibbs chose Tony to take back on his team instead of Ziva. They all shared that unspoken pact to make Kate's life and death mean something.
After Shannon and Kelly died, it had been hard for Gibbs to pick up the pieces and move on. He felt like he had failed them both, and the pain had become unbearable. All he wanted to do was drink himself into a stupor or do something equally reckless so that he could join them. He would never have taken his own life, but the thoughts had been there, on those nights when it got too lonely. It was only after he joined NCIS, after he knew the difference he was making, that the pain started to ease, his life started to go on. He still felt the pain some nights, still felt fresh tears come to his eyes when something hit too close to what they had meant to him, still held all the women that he had dated or married up to a standard that only Shannon could be, but life was going on. He was moving on. Every case that he was able to solve gave other families, like his own family, some kind of closure. It took seeing his father again for him to realize that he also gave Kelly and Shannon's lives, or their deaths, some kind of meaning, just by letting his team in. They had formed the family that he lost, with Abby acting as his daughter, Tony the son that he had never had, and even Ziva and Tim had fit into their lives. He knew that Shannon was looking down and smiling on him every time he told Abby she did a good job, every time he gave Tony a head slap, every time he allowed Ziva to drive (even if it was met with the others' protests), and every time that he shared a quiet moment with one of them and gave them the encouragement to carry on. She would be happy that he didn't let her death stop his life.
The guilt of what her brother, her own flesh and blood, had done to this woman she never got the chance to meet, and what she saw his actions had done to the team she now belonged to, always weighed heavy on Ziva's mind. She knew that, from the moment she started at NCIS, that she would need to earn their trust. It would never be freely given, and she saw this in Abby from the day she started. In an effort to give her brother's life some meaning, to take away the bad karma that he had caused while in contact with the team, she went out of her way to get in the good graces of the team. The first hurdle, and probably the hardest for her, was Abby. The gothic scientist had made her first few months at NCIS something to remember, and she could have sworn that Tony and McGee were watching the two of them together, just waiting for a fight. Finally, she broke through to Abby, and they became friends, so she relaxed. The rest of the team seemed to accept her as part of the team as soon as Abby did, and it proved to her that she belonged when they were worried about her after the explosion in Tel Aviv. It proved to her that she belonged when Gibbs fought to get her back. So, it came as a shock that, as quickly as she was accepted, Gibbs could choose Tony over her, and she was back to square one. She knew she needed to find another way to give her brother's life meaning.
Ducky had always given voices to the dead, just because of the way he treated every dead body. He knew that passersby and even the newer members of his team, believed that he spoke to them, simply because he had a captive audience that would never be able to interrupt his stories, but it went much deeper than that. He always held the belief, that on some level that he would never know until he passed on and someone else was working on him, that people went somewhere after they died. Perhaps they even stayed with their bodies until the reason behind their deaths had been discovered. If this were the case, then, it would make sense for him to not only talk to them as if they were still there, but to make sure that he found out the hows and whys of their deaths as quickly as he could. He owed it to them, so they could pass over, and he owed it to the families, so that they could find closure. This was, after all, his job.