Theatrical Muse Post 297 Crushed
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#296 Theatrical Muse "Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes g
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"Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Valley of Fear



Gibbs had never suffered fools lightly. He made a point of surrounding himself with the best and brightest people. Anyone who couldn’t keep up—either at work or in his personal life—was kept at a distance. It had been something he’d learned as a young boy, one of the few life lessons he’d carried on from his father. Jackson had surrounded himself with astute and intelligent people, something that hadn’t always served him well.

Gibbs’ team had no idea how smart and talented they were. DiNozzo was too busy hiding behind his party boy image, even though Gibbs knew it was a cleaver way to deflect attention and keep people at a distance. In his own way, Tony was doing exactly the same thing Gibbs’ father had.

Tim McGee was too wrapped up in what he thought he should be, his confidence and academic genius taking a backseat to the social awkwardness of being a boy who had been thrust into a man’s world too early.

And Kate Todd…Kate thought she was sharper than she was, didn’t quite understand the nuances of human communication yet. She hadn’t figured out Tony, but she was easily able to profile any suspect around. She needed training to bring her brilliance out and Gibbs hoped she’d been with his team for a lot of years.

Gibbs could easily see both Kate and Tony manning their own teams in the next few years.

It took a lot for him to put his life in anyone’s hands and Gibbs was happy he had people he trusted intellectually and for their instincts.

Leroy Jethro Gibbs, NCIS

Theatrical muse--Talk about the weather
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#295 “Talk about the weather”

Talking about the weather is one of the more pointless exercises and Gibbs has learned to disengage when small talk begins. He’s always thought it disrespectful to discuss something as mundane as the weather at a crime scene. Wind, rain, snow, or sunshine, someone’s life has changed and waiting around for answers isn’t his style. It has never been his style.

The only time he ever enjoyed talking about the weather was when he sent letters back home when he was on long deployments. Shannon would send him cassette tapes that he played over and over again. In those, she’d describe the weather in such a way that he could feel the cool breeze on his face, even if he was in the hottest desert. She was a writer, a reading teacher who published two children’s books right after they’d married.

Gibbs’ own writing style—like his imagination—wasn’t anything like hers. He gave her as many details as he was allowed, but he never expanded on any of them. He never told her how hot it was in Kuwait, how the sweat tricking down his back itched, making his shirt stick to his skin.

Now that his wife was gone, he wished he’d painted a picture with his words, even of the weather. If anyone would appreciate it, Shannon would.

As his team chattered about the weather, nervous bursts of sound because they were uncomfortable with this crime scene, Gibbs found himself joining it. “Not too cold today. Least it is sunny.”

Theatrical Muse prompt 291 Take Someone Out
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It is a standing tradition that I take Abby out every year on the night before her birthday. At first, I always chose the places, some near, some almost an hour away. After about the fifth year, she started picking place, always out of the way locations that surprised, and most often impressed us.

But this year was different. Her birthday was the only thing that was the same. This year we were burying one of our own. McGee had died when an op had gone very very wrong. His funeral was on Abby’s birthday. Instead of a nice dinner, she wanted the team together at Tim’s grave, offering a toast to him.

I’d agreed—reluctantly. Sarah McGee had given me the names of a few excellent places and after whatever ceremony Abby had planned, she and I were going out. The team could come if they liked.

So much had changed, but Abby was my constant, my rock. Ducky had retired a couple of years ago, leaving the chief medical examiner position to Doctor James Palmer. DiNozzo ran the other Major Case Response team and rumor had it he was on the fast track for a job upstairs, Ziva was high up in Israeli intelligence. My team was young, and even though I didn’t want to admit it, kinda spunky. Sarah McGee was the new probie, Dwayne Wilson would be my new senior field agent now. Our team had only been intact two years, but that was long enough to form some tight bonds.

We all stood in silence, new team and old, as Abby recited some words and shed a few tears. She and McGee had always been close. He’d even gotten a tattoo to impress her.

Abby finished her speech and we all lingered. Nobody wanted to break the mood yet. “Abbs,” I said softly and when she looked up, there was so much hope in her eyes. “Taking you out. Birthday tradition, remember?”

She gasped, her eyes filling with tears as she embraced me. “Can the team come along?”

“Course. Nobody I’d rather spend tonight with.”

And it was true.

Theatrical Muse 292 Show and tell
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I've never been anyone who wanted to play show and tell. Even as a kid, it was something I rejected. When I was forced to do it in school, I brought and told the minimum of details. A picture of "Rover", our dog, and a paragraph or two of words. A rock I'd found on the way to school. I never wanted to talk about things on cue like that.

It had led to the breakup of every marriage. Wives wanted to talk--they always wanted to talk. On their timetable. About things I couldn't or wouldn't explain. How could I tell them that I needed the quiet of the time in the basement, the wood and rythmic motions soothing me after I'd seen the worst in people. It helped me to calm down and figure out how to deal with society and humanity. But none of them had ever understood my need for that. It wasn't a desire, it was a need.

All of them had breached the silence, the solitude, on really bad days. The blowouts and the fights were almost a relief. I was channeling anger in a completely different way, striking out verbally in a way that I needed, and they were always the victim. Not that they were always innocent, but the final blowout would always lay on my shoulders.

I can’t help wondering how Shannon would have dealt with it. Somehow I think that she might have understood. She always knew me better than anyone else.

I’m seeing someone else now, someone nobody would expect me to date. Two someones. They spend most evenings in the basement, doing their own thing while I work with my wood and hand tools. Since we all do the same job, they understand. I don’t have to say a word, just show them the emotion in my eyes and they follow me down.

It’s become our solitude now. With them, Show and Tell isn’t so bad.

Theatrical Muse prompt 289 Cheer Someone Up
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Spoilers for See No Evil

Abby is so easy to cheer up, so uncomplicated compared to most of the people I deal with on a daily basis. A kiss on the cheek and her favorite caffeinated drink are usually enough to bring a smile to her face. There are so many days that I need that burst of humanity, considering what we deal with on a constant basis. Rapes, murders, people putting greed before family.

Captain Mike Watson had given up everything for money. He’d had his daughter and wife kidnapped. They could have easily died. I know full well what it was like to lose everything that mattered to me—my wife and daughter. I’d do anything to get them back. And that dirt bag had just thrown away his.

I needed Abby now, more than usual. The team had no idea about my family, no clue of the emotions racing through me right now. It was much easier that way. I had a reputation as their leader, someone who wasn’t easily vulnerable. There was no way I could destroy that image. They needed it more than they realized.

I knew Abby would still be at work. The day had been hot, long, and tough for us all. It was easy to sneak up behind her, kissing her cheek.

“Gibbs!” she exclaimed, throwing herself in my arms. I pulled her in tight.

“You got any plans tonight?”

“No! Do you?” She gave me an appraising glance.

“Yeah. Taking you out to dinner at Café Atlantico. You ready?”

As she said “yes” and gave me a big grin, she had no ideas that she was the one cheering me up.

Theatrical Muse prompt Prompt 287 Prison
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Leroy Jethro Gibbs--NCIS

There were things that were similar about most prisons. The cramped feel, the despair and heartache that leeched off every wall. But that was only the case for physical prisons. Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs had seen his fill of those. He worked to put dirtbags away in them every day. This sense of justice drove him when exhaustion should have brought him to his knees.

But that wasn’t the worst kind of prison. He was trapped in a prison of loneliness, of bad choices, of three ex-wives, two alimonies, a workaholic who only had his boat, bourbon, and basement to break up the quiet times, the times when the ghosts of his past pressed in on him, bars forged of bad decisions, of mistaking lust for love, bars created with his undeniable attraction to redheads who were completely wrong for him. Redheads who needed and deserved more. Redheads he couldn’t give his heart to because it belonged to his dead wife and daughter.

Some people said prisons had only four walls and bars, but Gibbs knew better. He’d build his prison out of heartache and loneliness, from the walls he’d put up so that nobody could get close. He’d spent much of the past eighteen years convincing himself he didn’t need more than he had, and now that he wanted—needed—more, he had no idea how to go about finding it.

He was trapped in a prison of his own making.

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