Permission to archive: yes
Genre (general, hetero or slash): Slash
Rating: PG, so far
Summary: Jethro gains some knowledge
Watching the rubble collapse further was one of the scariest moments of his life - and one of the most frustrating. Seeing it in person, he might have been able to take some action. Witnessing it on the news in mid-air while en route to Texas meant he was powerless, not a position in which he liked to find himself. Add to that the anguish of not knowing if his mother was even still alive, and Jethro Gibbs was one sullen passenger. Luckily for everyone, the flight wasn't crowded and the flight attendants wisely kept their distance from him.
It was times like these that Jethro allowed himself to think about Tony. The younger agent would somehow have known just what to say to keep him from going too far over the edge. Or he would have simply sat by Jethro, offering silent support and comfort, letting him know that he would be there - no matter what. Jethro knew it was his own fault that he was denied Tony's presence. If he hadn't been so uptight after their conversation, Tony would never have felt the need to leave. But Jethro just hadn't been able to put aside his own latent prejudices long enough to see what he was doing to the other man - and to realize what a mistake he'd made in turning Tony down. Jethro had called himself ten kinds of fool in the ensuing months, and his heart still ached with the knowledge that he'd both hurt and, ultimately, lost Tony. In one way, this loss was worse than the loss of Kelly and his baby girl; this one, he had done to himself.
The pilot's announcement that they were beginning their descent into Houston broke Jethro from his morose thoughts. Shaking himself slightly, he refocused his attention on what lay ahead - the unknown.
Skirting around the travelers meandering aimlessly around the concourse, Gibbs strode purposely to the passenger pick-up area. He assumed this is where his FBI driver would be meeting him, and, if he couldn't find the guy, he'd simply grab a cab himself. The bright sun and oppressive humidity hit him immediately upon exiting the airport. After stopping a moment to adjust to the change in light and temperature, Jethro looked around and quickly spotted a young man in a dark blue suit holding a handmade sign stating simply "GIBBS." Good, he wouldn't have to worry about the cab.
Gibbs walked up to the intent young man and spoke quietly, "I'm Gibbs."
An expression of pure relief washed over the agent's face. "Thank god. I just got here and thought I'd missed you. My boss would have had my hide." Sobering at the impassive look on Gibbs' face, he continued, "I'm Special Agent Donovan, sir. I'm very sorry to meet you under these conditions. If you want to get your bags, we can get out of here ASAP."
Motioning to the duffle slung over his shoulder, Gibbs told Donovan, "This is it, Donovan. First lesson in the Marines - always travel light. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to get out there and find my mother."
"Certainly, sir. The car's right over here . . . ."
Up to this point, the car ride had been completely silent. But Donovan had finally worked up the courage to offer up some information to Gibbs. "Um, I'm not certain if you've heard, sir, but they have found one survivor. Apparently, Search and Rescue is attempting to extricate that person."
Gibbs stared at Donovan as though he'd grown an extra head. "Was that before or after the rubble collapsed again? From those images on CNN, it'd be a minor miracle for anyone to have survived the first collapse much less a second."
The look on the FBI agent's face would have been comical under other circumstances, but Jethro wasn't feeling all that amused at the moment. "I'm so sorry, sir. I hadn't heard about the second collapse. But the SAR teams around here are excellent; if anyone can get folks out of there, they can."
"I hope so, Donovan. For my mother's sake, I certainly hope so." But secretly, Jethro doubted very seriously that there would be any good news when he reached the blast site.
Like Tony before him, Gibbs gazed at the dusty pile of a former building with trepidation. The sight was disheartening, to say the least. How could anyone survive this kind of destruction, much less an elderly woman with medical problems? He reluctantly told himself to face the truth; there was little chance his Mama was going to be pulled from this devestation alive.
Donovan cleared his throat beside him. "Sir? I believe the lieutenant in charge and the SAR supervisor are just over here. I imagine you'd like to speak with them."
"Yes, I would. Maybe someone can tell me what the hell's being done."
With that, Gibbs strode purposely toward the figures Donovan had pointed out to him. He addressed the police lieutentant first, "Lieutenant, I'm Jethro Gibbs with NCIS. My mother is . . . was one of the residents of this facility. Can you tell me what the plans are for search and recovery?"
Turning toward the special agent, the lieutenant answered tiredly, "Frankly, we haven't really made that determination yet. We're still working on search and rescue at the moment. One of the SAR guys has been trapped in there along with the victim he was attempting to retrieve. Jim - I mean, Captain Tate here can probably give you more details; he's in charge of the SAR outfit." Glancing meaningfully at the SAR supervisor, the lieutenant turned away from the two other men. "If you'll excuse me, I've got to go throttle, I mean mollycoddle, some feebs."
As the policeman walked away, Capt. Tate shook his head woefully. "They're sure running ol' Tom through the mill on this. Don't really want to take over but don't want to give up too much control. Makes a man count down the days to retirement." Shifting his attention to Gibbs, Tate offered his hand. "Jim Tate. I'd say it was nice to meet you, but it seems inappropriate."
Appreciating the man's forthright nature, Gibbs relaxed slightly and shook the proffered appendage. "Jethro Gibbs. So - one of your guys is trapped in there now? How the hell did that happen?"
"Well, Tony's a little more gung-ho than is strictly good for his own health. He made it here before anyone else and went ahead into what was left of the building. Did I mention he's a little impulsive, too? Regardless, he'd managed to find a survivor when a gas tank on a reserve generator blew." Tate smirked in private amusement. "I might be more worried about him if I didn't know what a survivor he is. He's gone through enough in his 34 years that I know, if anyone can make it out of there, he can."
Gibbs nodded his head in understanding, thinking of his own Tony and his propensity for getting himself out of sticky situations. "One of my folks is like that. Must be something that's in their blood."
Tate seemed to contemplate that for a moment before replying. "Well, then, I need about a hundred more DiNozzo's in my outfit."
Jethro's mouth fell open in shock at those words. He was about to question the captain further when a commotion from the rubble pile distracted both men. Another of the SAR team shouted over to Tate, "Hey, boss! We've got signs of life!"