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Life Before His Eyes Recap
◄ Return to 9.14 Life Before His EyesNCIS: Life Before His Eyes
Airdate: February 7, 2012
Recap Author: callerbear
It's early morning outside DC. A silver pickup truck pulls up to an old-fashioned railroad-car style diner. Leroy Jethro Gibbs climbs out, greets an elderly couple as they leave, and sits down at the counter. The waitress, Elaine, greets him with a cup of coffee. He
turns down breakfast this morning, but clearly relishes the coffee. From one end of the diner, a patron stands up and moves towards the door. He pulls a gun from the pocket of his hooded sweatshirt and aims directly at Gibbs. Gibbs draws his weapon, says "Federal agent. Put it down" as he aims. The assailant fires.
Many scenes flicker past in Gibbs' memory: a house, a playground, playing football, flags flying, riding bicycles, a parade, his father's angry face, a roller coaster ride, high school football, walking down the street in anger, Shannon's face in the store window, the Marine Corps flag, Private Joan Matteson's face, a National Cemetery, Joan's gravestone, Shannon saying "I do", a Just Married banner on the back of a car, a baby being born.
They flash by faster and faster, more and more scenes, moving forward in time. Among others, we see Gibbs' old truck, an NIS sign, Mike Franks, Shannon and Kelly's death certificates, Pedro Hernandez' death, Franks presenting Gibbs with an NIS jacket, Gibbs and Vance, Ziva and Gibbs, and many others. We see Gibbs near-drowning, we see him comforting Abby, we see Franks Mexican home and his death, we see Gibbs stocking goods in his father's store.
Faster and faster, flash after flash of different scenes. Gibbs saving Vance's life in the hospital, Abby sitting in interrogation, walking outside with the team, Mike Franks' coffin, faster and faster and faster until we suddenly stop. Gibbs is in the diner, standing still, aiming his sidearm. A bullet is hovering in the air just a short distance away. Everything is still. Gibbs slowly lowers his gun, turns and looks around. Everyone is the diner is completely unmoving, frozen in time. The bullet hangs in air just a foot or so in front of him.
Suddenly, a waitress steps away from the table she's serving. Jackson Gibbs is sitting at the table -- he smiles and waves a salute. "Dad!" The people at the next booth also turn and wave -- it's Abby, Tony and Ziva, all smiling. "Jethro!" a voice calls from the end of the counter. It's PFC Joan Matteson, her face shining with delight as she grins. From behind Gibbs, a young Gibbs in his Marine camo strides past and greets Matteson with a hug and kiss. Our Gibbs shows confusion in his face.
Mike Franks walks up and flicks the bullet out of the way. "Mike!" "Well, how do I look?" Mike proudly asks (he looks terrific). Gibbs is at a loss for words for a moment and finally answers "Alive!" Franks grins, says "Hell of a day, isn't it?", and then grows solemn. "What are you doing, Probie, hesitating like that? You should have shot him!"
Gibbs is taken aback. "What? I mean, that's it? It's over? But I wasn't done yet!"
"That's the problem," Franks confides. "Folks want to help you see the things you accomplished. Understand the choices that you made. Jethro, this is your life we're talking about."
Roll the opening credits.
Back to the diner. Everyone is moving now, dishes clinking, people eating. Franks leads Gibbs to a booth. "Didn't expect to see you so soon! Guess you can't predict these things." Tim McGee steps past, smiles, and leaves the diner. Gibbs joins Franks at a booth. From the booth behind Franks, we see Jenny Shepard looking back at Gibbs. "I didn't see this coming," Gibbs says. Franks smiles back at him. "Ain't life grand?"
A passing waitress drops off menus. They're personalized with Gibbs' name at the top, and there are only three items: Steak, Coffee and Whiskey. "What is this, Mike?" "A gift." "Well, it doesn't feel like it." "People want to give you closure, a chance to see what you did."
"I didn't do anything!" Gibbs declares. Franks doesn't agree. "Bull! You solved hundreds of cases, you helped families get over burying their dead by putting away murderers and terrorists." "I'm just doing my job." "Well, folks that use paper clips and photocopying for a living, those are jobs," Mike says. Jimmy Palmer smiles and nods at Gibbs as Palmer moves towards the exit.
Mike continues. "What you did is more than that." Palmer steps back from the door to let Ari Haswari come in. Gibbs watches Ari pass, then turns back to Mike. "I don't get it," he says. "Try to!" Franks says, "If you'd done things different, you'd be surprised how everything would have changed. How far do we have to go? Thirty years? Ten years? What about yesterday? Tell me how it started."
Cut to the NCIS squadroom, 24 hours earlier. Tony and Ziva are looking at McGee's desk. McGee has swapped his two computer monitors.
They believe something deeper must be happening for McGee to make such a change, and they want to know what it is. McGee doesn't rise to the bait. "I just needed a change." Gibbs arrives: Dead petty officer on the USS Gentry. Although the ship was decommissioned months ago, there is a small crew aboard cleaning up the ship. As they leave, Gibbs tosses back over his shoulder "Did you change your monitor or something, McGee?"
On the ship, the dead petty officer is in the communications and operations hub. She has been shot twice in the chest, and has died with a gun in her hand. No witnesses. Ziva wanders down the hall and spots a blood trail going underneath a particular door. She calls Gibbs over, and they carefully enter the cargo bay. They follow the blood trail into the dark room until it leads them to another man slumped against crates. He's still alive, but unconscious and bloody. He's been shot as well. Phoof!
Back in the diner, Gibbs is still sitting the booth with Franks. At the counter, Director Vance is playing chess with Ari Haswari. Gibbs is confused, says he didn't ask for this. Franks tells him that he's earned it by making tough decisions. Although people die needlessly, Franks tells him that sometimes good comes from the hurt. Gibbs sneers at the thought. "Don't talk to me like a greeting card!" Franks looks at him seriously. "I'm talking to you like a friend."
As Gibbs looks up, he sees FBI Agent Tobias Fornell (with a goatee). Fornell raises his coffee cup in salute.
Franks gets up to leave and wants Gibbs to follow. As they leave, Ducky enters the diner and greets Gibbs in passing. Down the counter, Young Gibbs is still talking with Joan Matteson. Gibbs smiles at the sight, then steps out of the diner.
Gibbs and Franks walk into the squadroom. It's empty of people at the moment, probably because it's still early morning. Franks tells Gibbs that a single decision can change everything, sometimes better, sometimes not. Gibbs starts looking around. On Tony's desk, he finds a photograph of Tony and Kate Todd arm and arm together. Another photo shows them together as well, apparently on vacation in a tropical paradise. "Agent Todd's dead." Gibbs tells Mike. "Doesn't have to be. What if you saw Ari on that rooftop?"
Flash back to the scene on the rooftop moments before Ari shot Kate. In this timeline, as Kate is about to stand, Gibbs sees a glint of light on the distant rooftop. He radios McGee to send air support, and keeps Kate on the ground. With his target unavailable and a helicopter approaching, Ari packs up his rifle and leaves.
Back to the diner. Franks and Gibbs are now sitting at the counter. "It didn't happen that way," Gibbs tells him. "But what if it did? What if, this time, you protected your team and kept it from happening?" Gibbs begins to think about what could be different if Kate had not died.
Bing! Tony jumps out of an elevator, dressed for undercover police work. "Did I miss it?" he calls. Abby and McGee are standing down the hallway and tell him everything's fine. In this timeline, Abby and McGee are a couple, comfortably arm in arm. Tony asks a doctor if everything is OK, and the doctor invites him to see for himself. He shows Tony into Kate's hospital room
Kate is sitting upright in the bed, looking rather pale and drawn. She's not smiling as he apologizes for being late, and definitely isn't amused when Tony says, "Well, at least you look smaller." "Oh boy" Tony says to himself. The doctor agrees. "Exactly, Agent DiNozzo. You're a father!" A nurse hands Tony a newborn infant. He's delighted and welcomes his son. "Nice job, Kate!" he says, and she finally smiles at him.
Back in the diner, Gibbs sits back after seeing those visions. Mike tells him that life is like dominoes, like ripples, like a stone skipping across a pond. Mike asks him to think about Ziva. If Kate lives, then Ziva stays with Mossad.
Cut to NCIS headquarters. In the hallway outside Interrogation, Vance is warning Tony. "Be careful with this one. I know her father well. To say she's dangerous is an understatement." Tony shows his wedding ring, and tells Vance that dangerous women are his specialty. In the room, Ziva is clearly angry. Her hair is long, wavy and somewhat wild.
Tony circles the table while he works to remember her name. "Riva. Viza. No no no, Tiva."
"Ziva. My name is Ziva David," she snaps.
Tony continues to walk around her as he laughs. "Ah, Ziva, the Icy Israeli. I followed you to a hotel pool once."
With a toss of her head, she flips her hair back. "Clearly I made an impression. Cannot say the same about you."
Back to the diner. Gibbs refuses to take responsibility for everything. Franks agrees, but says that we're just as responsible for the things that we do as for the things we don't. He uses yesterday's case as an example. "Yesterday was an eye-opener. There was more to that case than you saw coming."
Cut back to the NCIS squadroom on the day before. Tony is checking out the contents of McGee's desk, and sees that McGee has cleaned out his desk as well as changing his monitors. From her desk, Ziva is acting as a lookout. "Albatross!" she hisses, "ALBATROSS!" McGee enters the area catching Tony in the act. Tony and Ziva pretend to be reviewing information on the plasma, but Tim knows better. "So it's finally happened," McGee says, "You two are snooping together, as a team." Ziva says that they're curious, and concerned. But Tim tells them it's nothing that they need to know about.
Gibbs arrives. Bank accounts for the dead petty officer show two deposits in the last week, each one over $30,000. The wounded man is still in intensive care. He's a civilian working for an electronics company that's recently been acquired by a Chinese firm. McGee notes that some disk drives containing sensitive information are still aboard the ship. Treason, perhaps?
In Forensics, we see Abby massaging the side of a shirtless (and surprisingly muscular) Jimmy Palmer. Palmer explains that he pulled a muscle and Abby was 'rolfing' him to ease the pain. After Palmer escapes, Gibbs raises an eyebrow. "Rolfing, Abby?" She looks mischievous and changes the subject. She's analyzed the bullets from the crime scene. Both victims were shot with the same gun, which was then left the gun in the hand of the petty officer. The gun isn't registered, and the serial numbers have been removed.
She was able to lift a fingerprint from one of the shell casings. It matches Michael Rose, a freelance computer systems analyst. Gibbs begins to think out loud. "All three had clearance to board. Maybe they were all in it together. Nice work. Who knew Palmer had abs like that." Abby looks at him in surprise while Gibbs calls DiNozzo. They know no-one left the ship, so Rose must still be on board!
Back in the diner, Gibbs still refuses to take the blame "for every coulda, shoulda, didn't". He turns towards Franks, but Franks has vanished. A waitress sets a piece of apple pie in front of him. "I didn't order this", Gibbs says. The waitress starts pouring chocolate syrup over the pie. "Well, sometimes we don't know what we want until someone shows us the possibilities."
"Chocolate. My mom used to do this!" Gibbs looks up at the long-haired, red-headed waitress who has already turned back towards the kitchen. "What did you say your name was?" Gibbs asks. Without turning, she says "Ann". "That was my mother's name," Gibbs says, leaning sideways, trying to see her face. She turns back with a coy smile. Phoof!
Ann walks back to Gibbs with a coffee pot in hand. "Hurt my feelings if you don't eat it." "No, I can't," Gibbs says unable to take his eyes off of her, "Mom."
"Poor thing," she says, gently patting the side of his head. "Your brain must be running in circles trying to make sense of all this. And here I am not a day older than when you last saw me, carrying on about a mother's pride." She nearly has tears in her eyes and Her voice cracks. "My goodness." She looks back at him with a happy smile.
"You never told me you were proud."
"Proud of the boy I knew. Proud of the man you've become. And proud of everything in between." She picks up the slice of pie. "How about I wrap this up. You can take it home with you."
"Do I get to go home?" Gibbs asks. She turns back, smiles again. "Eventually. I do have one bone to pick with you, though." He looks at her, and she nods towards a booth where we see Young Gibbs in his military camo vehemently arguing with Jackson, his father. "You could have cut him some slack," Ann says.
"Dad blamed you for everything, hated you for leaving."
"Well, trust me, he had one foot out the door already. So he drove a few women home. God knows, I put your father through hell. Man that age shouldn't be changing his wife's bedsheets every night. Best thing I did was go."
Gibbs shakes his head. "No, don't you say that."
"It's true. Of course, raising a son is hard, but doing it on your own..." Young Gibbs bolts from the booth in frustration and leaves. Ann continues, "Going to need a couple miracles for things to turn out right." She looks at him again. "Just ask Michael Rose."
In the squadroom, working on the case of the day, Gibbs asks for information about Micheal Rose. He's divorced, single dad, computer systems analyst for the government. He's broke -- no money in the checking account and is about to lose his house to foreclosure. He has a seventeen year old son, Stephen, who's currently applying to colleges. Rose deposited $20,000 in his son's savings account two days earlier. His coworkers haven't seen him recently. Three outgoing calls last night: one to his son, two calls to a secure diplomatic lines in DC. Gibbs recognizes the number as the Chinese embassy. He sends Ziva to pick up the son, and McGee back to the Gentry to help DiNozzo find Michael Rose.
On the ship, DiNozzo pumps McGee for information. McGee finally cracks. Director Vance has offered McGee a promotion to run the cyber division in Okinawa, Japan. "That's it?" DiNozzo says, "Everybody knows that, Tim. Good for you, that's fantastic, you've got to take that opportunity. The last cyber agent? He's at Microsoft now!"
McGee doesn't understand Tony's behavior. He expected sarcasm, not sincerity. He opens up. "What do I do?" he asks Tony. "It's your choice," Tony tells him, "But I'd trust my gut. That's what Gibbs would do." Tim looks after him thoughtfully.
Outside the Rose home, Ziva waits for son Stephen to get home from school. Stephen steps off the school bus carrying a lacrosse stick. When Ziva tries to intercept him, he swings the stick at her. She dodges the attack, pushes him against a car. He's relieved to hear that she's with NCIS -- his dad had warned him that he might have to protect himself from the Chinese.
Outside the diner, Gibbs is sitting on a bench with his mother, looking at a newspaper. The paper is completely blank. "Having trouble connecting the dots, Jethro?" Ann asks. When he tells her the paper is blank, she says "That's because you haven't decided yet." "I haven't decided what?" "How things will play out." He looks at her, not understanding. "You see it's all intertwined, Jethro. You'd be surprised how one decision ripples into another." She sighs. "It's your ship to sail, son."
He looks down at the newspaper again. It's now filled with news, and the lead story has the headline "Injured NCIS agent kills suspect." Gibbs' picture is beside the front-page article. "I didn't pull the trigger yet!" "Nope," Ann says, "Sure didn't."
He takes a deep breath. "Wish I'd known all this before. Learned from it."
"Doesn't work that way, son. Like it or not, you made a difference in folks' lives." She smiles weakly and says with a catch in her voice, "Certainly did mine. Albeit short." She looks at him. "I never wanted to leave you." He looks down at the ground. "Tell me you know that?" she prompts. "Yeah," he nods, "Yeah, I know that." She gently kisses his forehead, and they sit quietly on the bench. Phoof!
Inside the diner, Gibbs is studying the music available on a booth jukebox. "What are you in the mood for, Gibbs?" Riley McAllister asks. McAllister tells him that he's always been a fan of big bands. Gibbs isn't happy to see him. "Who are you, Riley, the ghost of NCIS past?"
McAllister tells him that for some reason or another, Gibbs needs McAllister in the diner now. "I need a crook and a murderer?" Gibbs asks. "As far as I'm concerned, that's the pot calling the kettle black," McAllister tells him. Gibbs isn't interested, and gets up to leave the booth. "Mexico?" McAllister asks, "Pedro Hernandez. Ring a bell?"
Gibbs sits down and McAllister continues. "You can play dumb all you like, but I know better. You let your emotions get the better of you that day, Gibbs. Damn foolish if you ask me." He looks at the jukebox. "Gimme a quarter." Gibbs fishes one out of his pocket, and McAllister turns on some music from the 40's. He sits back with a smile. "I've got a proposition for you," he tells Gibbs, "What if you didn't pull that trigger at all?"
Flash back to Mexico, Hernandez driving his pickup truck, Gibbs in position with his sniper rifle. "Think about all the lives, Gibbs. Think about all you did for the sake of revenge. Then imagine it never happened at all." We see Gibbs get lined up for the shot. He begins to squeeze the trigger, but stops. Hernandez drives on by. Gibbs takes his finger off the trigger, rolls back away from his gun and screams, as we've seen him do before.
"I had to," Gibbs says in the diner. McAllister hammers home the point. "Killing that man made you as guilty as he was. I'm not saying what you did wasn't warranted. But we both know what's considered 'just' isn't always 'right'."
"And if it didn't happen?" Gibbs asks. "For one thing, Miss Sciuto wouldn't be carrying around the secret of a lifetime." Gibbs recalls Abby telling him that she'd do anything to hide the result of her investigation into Hernandez' death. "Maybe this time I did more harm than good," Gibbs wonders.
"I can't argue with that," McAllister says. "If I didn't do it, where would it have put me?" Gibbs asks. McAllister hesitates, then frowns. "Riley, I need to know!" Gibbs insists.
Cut to the NCIS Conference room on the day before. Gibbs pours a glass of water for Stephen Rose. Gibbs tells him that he's a hard-working, honest kid -- then asks if his father is as honest. Stephen tells Gibbs that his father is a good man that just got pulled in with some bad people. He doesn't know their names. If he got wrapped up in something bad, it's because of money troubles, but he'd never hurt anyone. Gibbs says that he needs to know where Rose is at. Stephen says that his father had called last night, said he might be in trouble, sounded scared. "Oh, please, you've got to help him!" Stephen pleads.
Cut back to the diner. Gibbs is sitting at the counter, staring at Pedro Hernandez down at the end. Mike Franks tells him to stop embarrassing himself, but Gibbs doesn't flinch. "It's done! Let it go!" "Nope. I can't," Gibbs said as he continues to stare, "I did what I thought was right." Franks doesn't agree. "Well, what was right, was wrong. We all make mistakes."
Gibbs looks around. "Where's McAllister?"
"Aw, hell, was that opinionated jackass here? I figured he'd bring this up."
Gibbs looks down the counter once again. "What would have happened if Hernandez didn't die?" "To him?" Mike asks. "To me!" Gibbs insists, "Tell me!"
Mike takes a deep breath, looks squarely at Gibbs. "If you hadn't shot him, it would have eaten you up. Man carries around his demons long enough, they start to take over."
Cut to Gibbs basement. Old-time "woe is me" country music is playing on the radio. Gibbs picks up a whiskey bottle, sees it's empty, throws it back down. He's unshaven, disheveled, and wearing a dirty set of overalls. He finds another bottle with a little liquor remaining, pulls the top off, and raises it to his mouth just as the door at the top of the stairs creaks open. He whirls around to see who has come.
Ducky moves down the stairs, followed by Abby and McGee. Gibbs looks at them stopped at the bottom of the stairs. "What?" he asks flatly.
"You're alive, Jethro." Ducky says, "It's been months since anyone's spoken to you." They approach and Gibbs looks away. "Nothin' to say."
"So, how are you, Boss?" McGee asks tentatively. Gibbs looks at him. "I'm not your boss, McGee, I haven't been your boss in years."
Abby tries to break the tension. "The boat's still here," she says, "What have you been working on?" The boat appears to be completed, just sitting there. Gibbs takes a breath. "Rocker. Hope chest." He points unsteadily, "I was painting there..."
"What are you hoping for?" Ducky asks. Gibbs response is immediate. "To be left alone." He looks at them in his basement. "Guess that didn't work."
Abby admires the rocking chair. "This for Kate's baby?" Gibbs hangs his head and McGee speaks up, "You missed the shower." "And the birth," Abby adds. Gibbs scratches his head. "What'd she have?" he wonders.
Abby grins sheepishly. "A girl. Eight pounds, six ounces. She named her Kelly." Gibbs has nothing to say.
He finally says, "Guess you want to stay for supper." Abby says, "We'd like to, but..." "Good," he interrupts, "Cause I don't want you here." Abby is crestfallen. "Abby and I make you gumbo pudding last night..." McGee offers a container. "It's my mother's recipe," Abby tells him, holding tightly to McGee's arm. "We'd love you to come see our new place!" she offers with hope.
Gibbs just stares.
"Jethro, you're missed," Ducky says. "It's about time you stopped thinking about yourself, and started thinking about the ones who love you." Abby steps up and gives him a big hug. "I've missed these," she says.
"Is this one of those interventions?" Gibbs asks. "Gibbs, no!" Abby says. "Good.", he tells her. "Then get out. I don't want your pity."
Rebuffed, Abby walks back to McGee. Ducky looks at him closely. "What do you want?"
Mike Franks' voice adds, "You said it yourself, Jethro. Did what you had to."
Back in the diner, Pedro Hernandez gets up, slowly walks past Gibbs to the door as they glare at each other. He opens the door and leaves. "I shot the SOB, Mike" he says with pain in his voice, "But when I got home, my house was still empty. My girls were still gone."
He whirls back to face Franks. "Mom mentioned Michael Rose. Why bring this all up, now?" Franks looks back, and slowly says "Folks do the wrong things for the right reasons. You of all people should understand that. Maybe you and Michael Rose aren't so different."
Cut back to the USS Gentry. Police dogs are searching the corridors. McGee, DiNozzo, Gibbs and Stephen Rose follow behind -- they've been searching for hours. The dog signals at a particular door, and Gibbs gestures for Stephen to step up beside him. He calls for Rose and tells him that his son is with them. Stephen calls for his father, tells him that NCIS just wants to help.
The hatch creaks open, and Rose steps out with his hands in the air. "Leave Stephen out of this, and I'll tell you everything." Phoof!
Back in the diner, Gibbs picks up the bullet from the floor. A young girl walks up. "Hi" she says, shyly. "Hi." "You look kind of lost," she tells him. "I do? Well, you look pretty smart." She looks up at him. "My mom said we should help." He looks around. "Where's your mom?" She smiles brightly. "She's over there! Come on, I'll take you to her." She reaches out and takes his hand, leads him to a booth.
The girl slides into the booth, and Gibbs smiles at the mother. It's Shannon, looking back up at him, happy to see him. Gibbs nods towards Kelly. "This little girl belong to you?" "Yep," Shannon says, "Belongs to you too, I think."
"Come on, Daddy, sit!" Kelly pulls him down next to her. He puts his arm around her. "We've been waiting for you," Shannon says. Kelly has drawn a picture of the family back together again.
Cut to Interrogation, Gibbs questioning Michael Rose. He thought it would be easy to steal the sensitive information. The petty officer was on board, the other man had the connections to the Chinese. He thought he could handle the download. They paid him. But Rose realized it wasn't just information he was selling, it was people's lives, their safety and his honor. He tried to back out, and went to the ship to erase the hard drives. They were there, waiting for him. He shot the others in self-defense, and hopefully saved thousands of other lives. Rose was desperate to save his family, to send his son to college.
Back in the diner, Gibbs looks at Shannon, then out the window. "I didn't see this coming." "We always knew it would happen, eventually," Shannon tells him. "Seeing you here," he says, "I shouldn't have let it happen. I shouldn't have let you testify."
Shannon wanted to help, she wanted to put that drug dealer in jail. "It wasn't your decision, Daddy" Kelly tells him.
Shannon looks at him seriously. "If we hadn't died, you wouldn't have have joined NIS and become an agent."
"That doesn't matter," he says.
"No Tony, no Ziva, no team."
"But I would have had my girls. I would have had you."
She knows something he doesn't. "If you'd stayed a Marine, Gibbs, the loss would have fallen on us instead."
Cut to the Gibbs home (presumably in California). Shannon calls Kelly to dinner, and reminds her that Daddy will be back in the states in just two weeks. As Kelly puts away the paper she was cutting, there is a knock on the door. Kelly looks at the door, and consternation appears on her face. She slowly stands. "Mommy?" she calls uncertainly. Shannon comes out of the kitchen. "Who is it?" She looks at the door. Outside, two Marines in full dress uniform come to attention and slowly salute. Shannon is horrified. Her chin quivers. A plate shatters on the floor.
In the diner, Shannon reaches for Gibbs' hand. "Just think of all of the cases, all of the lives you've touched, Gibbs. You sacrificed everything to help those people."
"But I wanted both," he whispers.
"It doesn't work like that." The girls look at him, while he looks steadily at Shannon.
Cut to the NCIS conference room. Stephen Rose is standing by the window when Gibbs enters the room. "Stephen." He nods towards the door, "Go." Stephen asks about his father, says that he was just trying to do what was right. Gibbs doesn't agree. "He killed two people. Nothing right about that."
Stephen tries to make his point. "Good people do things some times. Irrational things, things that don't make sense." He looks at Gibbs. "You won't help him, will you."
Gibbs has nothing to say.
"It's your choice, Agent Gibbs." Stephen leaves the room, leaving a thoughtful Gibbs behind.
Cut back to the diner. Gibbs walks in, cold from the morning.
The waitress, Elaine, greets him with a cup of coffee. He turns down breakfast this morning, but clearly relishes the coffee. From one end of the diner, a patron stands up and moves towards the door. He pulls a gun from the pocket of his hooded sweatshirt and aims directly at Gibbs. Gibbs draws his weapon, says "Federal agent. Put it down" as he aims.
The scene freezes. We hear Mike Franks speaking. "We all make choices." The assailant fires, nicking Gibbs on the shoulder. Franks voice continues, "Your decision," as we see that the assailant is Stephen Rose with tears in his eyes. Gibbs looks at Stephen, aims his weapon. Franks voice says, "What's it going to be?"
"Stephen." It's a standoff, both aiming at the other. Gibbs slowly lowers his gun while Stephen begins to cry. Stephen begins to lower his weapon as well, and two patrons of the diner tackle him. "I'm sorry," Stephen sobs, "I'm so sorry."
Mikes voice echos, "Guess you weren't done yet, Probie."
Gibbs sees Mike sitting in one of the booths, facing away. He looks over at Stephen, then looks back for Mike but the booth is empty. Gibbs holds his hurt shoulder and hangs his head.
The next day, at NCIS headquarters, McGee walks into the squadroom. He announces that he's chosen not to take the job in Okinawa, and believes that there's more that he can do here. Tony and Ziva congratulate him on his decision.
Gibbs strides in "Dead Marine in DC!" The team offers to cover the crime scene without him, since he was injured and had a traumatic day yesterday. "I'm good," Gibbs says, "My choice. I wouldn't have it any other way." They nod and head to the elevator.
Gibbs follows them, then pauses and looks back around the squadroom. He nods his head, satisfied with his choices, and smiles. Phoof!
Roll the closing credits.
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