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Do You Have Children?

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“Do you have children, Agent Gibbs?” – The female witness he was currently interrogating… khm… questioning in a decidedly friendly manner… had asked almost three whole minutes ago and still, Gibbs hadn’t been able to answer yet.

 

She was looking at him expectantly, and Gibbs knew he should say ‘I used to. Not anymore.’, like so many times before when faced with the same inquiry. But lately, saying that was becoming more and more difficult than ever.

 

What did she ask him about children for anyway? It was personal, and didn’t concern her at all! If she thought he’d be more understanding just because she showed some interest in his personal life, then she’d be bitterly disappointed soon!

 

‘Do you have children?’

 

His world-famous equilibrium momentarily gone, he was sitting in front of her, staring straight ahead, but not seeing… at least not seeing her. In front his mind’s eye, different scenes played like a movie on fast forward…

 

‘Do you have children?’

 

As if it were so easy to answer!

 

There was an easy answer, of course: his little daughter, the one he had loved more than anyone and anything, was dead. This simple. So, he used to be a father but wasn’t. Not anymore.

 

But… There was also something deeper. And that was what had caused Gibbs to pause and consider.

 

‘Do you have children?’

 

A familiar yet never boring picture popped into his mind: a very energetic Abby bouncing around her lab to blaring music, doing three (or maybe thirty-three) things at once, never losing her bubbling enthusiasm. Never tiring, never giving up, no matter how impossible a task he had given her. No matter how hopeless a situation appeared to be. Him, bringing her the usual Caf-Pow, and kissing her on the cheek after a job well done. Saying ‘Good work, Abbs’, and returning her overexcited hug with fatherly pride. Taking care of her when she was sad or angry, caring most of the time but strict when warranted…

 

‘Do you have children?’

 

Another picture, this time about a young man wearing sunglasses and a cocky smile, having just made one of his childish, semi-arrogant and very annoying comments, and making Gibbs believe he was doing it just to provoke a headslap. The ex-cop-turned-agent confidently strolling into the bullpen and theatrically complaining about his neighbors not knowing boundaries of partying and explaining why he had absolutely needed to go over to them and talk at half past one in the morning… and how he had consequently ended up staying there, drinking and dancing with them during the whole night, causing him to oversleep and be late for work that morning. How it wasn’t his fault at all, really. It had just happened.

Everything always ‘just happened’ to DiNozzo and Gibbs, for reasons that were a mystery to him as well as everyone else who knew the gruff team leader, only rolled his eyes fondly and slapped the insolent boy’s head lightly, warning him never to let it happen again, all the while knowing full well it would and he would leave it without punishment yet again. The kid was young only once after all…

 

‘Do you have children?’

 

A slightly chubby, very young man who was a nerdy computer whiz and hacked systems with a speed that would put the most feared cyber criminals of the world to shame. Who wasn’t even a real agent; not yet, anyway, and still was a worthy addition to Team Gibbs. Where DiNozzo possessed enough confidence for three, this young man lacked even the healthy minimal amount of it and could use some help finding his place not only in their job but in the world as well. And Gibbs, surprising as it was, was more than willing to do anything to help Timothy McGee along the way with that. He wanted to see the boy mature and become the agent and the man he knew he could be, and stand there, proudly introducing him to anyone who would listen, claiming to have had a hand in shaping the kid.

 

‘Do you have children?’

 

A young, brunette woman, still new on the team but adapting quickly. Who had gone a long way from visiting crime scenes dressed in small skirts and high heels (and that had been a sight to see!) to offering her own ideas and plans and generally bending the rules creatively enough to show the whole world: she was there to stay. She was the first one he’d seen give DiNozzo a run for his money when it came to talking their way out of trouble. Or into it; take your pick. Oh, how those two could argue! He should be annoyed with them. Hell, he should put an end to the unprofessional behavior they sometimes displayed. But Kate and Tony… They were a perfect match. The best fit. Whether as siblings or something more with time, Gibbs did not know and it didn’t matter either. The only thing that mattered was, that for the first time ever, he had a team who he knew would always have his six and he also knew he’d never betray any of them.

 

‘Do you have children?’

 

Oh, yes. He did.

 

“Agent Gibbs? I’m sorry if---”

 

“No, no. It’s okay. As a matter of fact: yes, I do. I have four.”