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Following on from "Long Night". Couldn't leave Jimmy hanging on.
MORNING By Bagpuss
Gibbs wouldn't have long to wait to confront Jimmy Palmer on the little matter of shooting to death the young woman who had, at one time, been his girlfriend.
The Agent found the lanky young man had not left the building. He was, in fact, sat on the floor against the wall of a dark and silent corridor. He'd been there for some time, alone with his thoughts.
Gibbs looked down at him as the young man raised his head to acknowledge him standing there.
"If you want to take a swing at me Palmer go right ahead if you think it'll do any good."
Jimmy just stared down at the floor.
"What'd be the point? Even if I wanted to it wouldn't turn the clock back eight months."
Gibbs sat down next to him.
"Yeah. That was around the time Bankston took her sister."
"How is she?" asked Jimmy.
"She's fine. Asking where "Michy" is"
Palmer frowned. "Poor kid."
He took out his celphone and started turning it over in his hand.
"I still have Michelle's picture and number on here." he said, reflectively.
"Jimmy, killing her was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do."
Jimmy sighed. "I know. It was for the best. That's what everyone keeps telling me. A part of me agrees. It's what she wanted, right? To make amends?" Jimmy asked, still toying with the phone.
" Yeah, that's about right." Gibbs replied.
Talking to Jimmy was proving to be easier than he thought, and Gibbs himself was taking comfort from their conversation too. He had meant every word of what he'd said. Caitlin Todd had once been faced with making the same choice he'd had to make that night. He had told her to put it behind her and move on, but it wasn't that easy in practice. Not when you were faced with killing a colleague. Not knowing what he knew.
Jimmy noticed the splint on Gibb's finger.
"That looks painful".
Gibbs just shrugged.
"I've had worse."
A sudden thought crossed Gibbs' mind.
"What did you mean that time, when you said Michelle was using you?"
Jimmy suddenly became a little embarassed.
"Well, I meant sexually. She was the dominant one in the relationship. I just didn't want the others to know that, especially DiNozzo."
Gibbs allowed himself a wry smile.
"What I want to know is, did she suffer? " asked Jimmy.
Gibbs shook his head.
"No. She hung on for maybe half a minute, then slipped away. It was quick."
"Thank God. I mean, well, we had split up and all, and with all that she did then maybe I shouldn't care. But I can't help it."
Gibbs fully understood. "That's not surprising, you two were close."
"Yes we were." Jimmy chuckled slightly, remembering some of just what they used to get up to, then flipped open the lid of his celphone.
He scrolled through the menus till he found her picture. She was smiling. For a traitor and a murderer she had such a gentle face. He instantly dismissed this negative thought.
Gibbs spoke. "What you have to remember is that she never chose to be a villain. She chose to be a hero, and that's how she died, earning the right to wear the badge one last time."
And Gibbs had to admit to himself, despite everything that had passed between them since they'd first met, that she had earned his respect that night too, by making that last choice.
What Gibbs had said struck a chord with Palmer and he actually smiled.
"Better to be remembered as a hero, but will I be the only one who'll miss her?" he asked.
"No." Gibbs replied. "We all will, one way or another. It's what Bankston never figured on. That whatever else he made her, underneath it all, she was still one of us. She just forgot that for a while."
It crossed Gibbs' mind at that moment to maybe admit to Palmer what had been eating away at him since the incident. That for a fleeting moment on the bus he'd had a clear head shot at Bankston. Just a moment, but long enough to take him out without killing Lee. Yet still he'd put three rounds through her, at her request.
Had she lived she'd be on her way to Leavensworth in chains, with no hope of ever being released. Or possibly even tried and sentenced to death. Lethal injection was no way for her to die.
He decided to let things stay as they were. To say nothing to no one.
He got to his feet.
"I'm just sorry I had to be the one to do it ." he said, gently squeezing Jimmy's shoulder.
Palmer turned to him, looking slightly puzzled. "Isn't it one of your rules to never say you're sorry?"
Gibbs shrugged and replied, "Rules are meant to broken sometimes." He left a short gap and spoke softly, "Like now."
"Is it morning yet?" asked Jimmy.
"Almost. Sun's coming up."
Gibbs started to make his way back to the squadroom, continuing to reassure himself that he'd done the right thing by her and her sister, who he had just made motherless.
That just left Jimmy there.
He got to his feet, made up his mind to accept Ducky's offer to go home, take the rest of the day off. To move on.
There was just one last thing he had to do.
He selected Michelle's picture on his phone, then held his thumb over the delete button, closed his eyes and pressed.
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, Apr 14 2010, 1:13 PM EDT
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