Summary: On Christmas Eve, Gibbs dreams about things that could have been, and finally finds the courage to taking chances.
Pairing: Kate/Gibbs ; tendencies of Gibbs/Mann
In parts inspired by Charles Dickens’ „How the ghosts stole Christmas“.
A/N: I dedicate this story to all my wonderful readers throughout this year as a little Xmas present. Thank you for voting for me in this year’s awards. I wish you all a very merry Christmas, and that you may all find the courage to take a chance, and won’t always wait until tomorrow to fulfill your heart’s dreams.
Enjoy the time with your families, or friends, or lover.
Merry Christmas 2007!
Until then, please excuse the many flaws, and rest assured, I know better now. ;) (Or at least I hope so.)
—- „You’re in my arms
All the world is calm
The music playing on for only two
So close together
And when I’m with you
So close to feeling alive.“ —-
She was there, standing two meters away from him in the dim night. Although it was dark and the sky was covered with clouds, the surroundings were lit by a grey-blue light that came with snowy nights and was reflected by the snowblanket that covered everything around him, and transformed the landscape into a magical winter wonderland.
He could just stand there, for endless moments, unsure to trust his own eyes. She was wearing her red tight coat, and a black scarf covered the skin of her neck, the ends playing softly in the wind. Her dark eyes looked at him in awe and a soft smile played around the corners of her red lips – those lbeautiful ips that he had missed so often.
„Kate…“ he murmured into the cold night air, the words becoming a puffy white cloud of hot breath which seemed to dance with the thick snowflakes that were falling down from above. Her smile grew wider when he approached her. „How… how is that possible?“
His hot breath nearly touched her as he lifted his hand and played with a strand of her brown hair, observing with fascination as snowflakes landed on the silky mass and slowly turned her into an ice princess. His hand moved slowly to her face and touched her cheek. She was warm – incredibly warm.
„You’re real…“ he murmured as if he had made the greatest discovery on earth.
Her soft giggle filled the night air. It was the first sound he heard from her and to him it was the most beautiful music he had ever heard.
„What did you think?“ Her eyes half shut as she closed the distance between them and leaned her head against his broad chest. „Oh, Gibbs… you’re here… I wasn’t sure you’d come.“
„Come where?“ His question made her smile, but she didn’t give an answer. The fresh snow under their feet scrunched as they moved slightly, as if dancing around each other. Jethro Gibbs eventually wrapped his arms around her tiny body and pressed her close to him. He bend his head and buried his face in her slightly wet hair. It smelled like snow and her, that unique smell that he had been missing for so long.
„Oh, Katie…“ he murmured with an exasperated sigh, and for a moment he felt like coming home from a long, lonely journey. „I’ve missed you so much…“
„Shhh…“ she whispered, „Don’t talk tonight.“
Her eyes met his when she looked up, then they travelled down his face’s features. Her fingers moved up to his cheek and trailed along the wrinkles next to his eyes. Slowly, she moved to her toes to lower the difference of body height between them, and touched her lips softly to his. He closed his eyes to the sensation of her warm and tender lips, and waves of warmth seemed to spread through his body, originating from her almost innocent kiss and finally gathering in his heart.
— „A life goes by
Romantic dreams will stop
So I bid mine goodbye and never knew
So close was waiting, waiting here with you
And now forever I know
All that I wanted to hold you.“
He had never been a Christmas person, because he had lived through too many disappointments, seen once too often that this often praised love and happiness that came along with a joyous Christmas were nothing more but an illusion.
But now, for the first time in years he could feel it again. The joy of happiness in his heart. With a warm glow in his eyes, he took her hands.
„Please, stay for Christmas…“
He had always wanted to ask her that, had always wanted to spend one Christmas Eve with her and wake up on Christmas morning with her warm body cuddled up close to him in his bed. Yet he had never done so. He had let the chance to fulfill his heart’s wishes pass by, and had hidden behind his regulations, and his disppointments.
„I’m sorry I have never asked you before, but please… stay now! Stay here with me.“
She laughed happily, carelessly, as if there was nothing left in the world that they needed to be afraid of. Then she captured his hand in hers.
„You know what I’ve always wanted? I’ve wanted one dance. I’ve seen you flirt with other women, I’ve seen you in that beautiful suit. I’ve seen the photos of your wife and your daughter… and all I always dreamed of was that you would dance with me just once, so that for a split second I could pretend that I had also one tiny place in your heart.“ Her eyes became somewhat sad, and shadows clouded them. „I never got that dance, Gibbs… not even that.“
„Oh Katie, I was so stupid.“ he murmured into the wind, and then pressed her fingers. „I should have given you everything – but I was afraid. Afraid to lose you again, just as I had lost the persons that I loved before. And I did! It was just that due to my fear, this time I never got the chance to tell you how much you mean to me.“
His lips touched hers again, and as if their hearts had been calling out to the angels above, all of a sudden, soft music reached their ears. Gibbs broke away from her mouth and looked into the snowy nature in front of him. In the distance he could recognize the sillouette of the old oak next to his house through the falling snowflakes , and a little behind that, the warm light that shone through his neighbor’s window.
The music ebbed away and became louder again, as if it was played and carried on by the wind and the snowflakes were swirling and dancing around them in perfect rythm with the soft tunes.
„So…“ Kate whispered and smiled at him dreamily. „Let’s dance now. Just one last dance…“
—-“So close to reaching that famous happy end
Almost believing this was not pretend
And now you’re beside me and look how far we’ve come
So far we are so close.“—-
They moved in perfect rythm with each other and the music in the distance, their hands seeking each other’s closeness. Forgotten were the snowflakes, the icy wind and the cool night air. Closing their eyes, they just felt what they had so long deprived each other’s hearts of, turned around and around on the soft snowy ground as if they were dancing on a white cloud, with hundreds of angels playing a melody to the beat of their hearts.
They lost themselves in the other’s eyes and the melody, which became louder and louder. Slowly, very slowly, they closed the distance between their mouths and their lips touched again in a unifying kiss, while they merged completely into the other’s body.
And for a moment, one single instant, it seemed as if they were not single, small parts of the world, but as if the world was build around them; as if it had been created only for them, for this short eternity. For a moment, anything was possible. A disappointed man could love again, a lost woman could dance with her true love, and two lovers, separated by the world, could find each other again in a magical winterstorm as if they had never been apart.
One kiss changed their hearts, and thereby their lives as well.
„I love you…“ It was whispered in unison by both of them after they lips had separated and only their foreheads touched.
„I’ve always loved you,“ Gibbs clarified. „And I always will.“
„I know… I’ve always known deep in my heart. But you have to be somewhere else now… and so have I!“ Kate’s eyes reflected the tender smile that was playing around her mouth.
—-“How could I face the faceless days
If I should lose you now?
We’re so close
To reaching that famous happy end
And almost believing this was not pretend
Let’s go on dreaming for we know we are
And still so far.“—-
„Don’t go, Katie…“ His voice was merely a whisper when she stepped away from him and finally their hands remained the only parts of their bodies that were still connected to the other. Their souls, though, would always be entwined.
„I won’t… I will never go, Gibbs. But you have to be with her. She’s waiting for you! It’s Christmas Night.“ The snowflakes had now almost covered all of her brunette hair, and made her look like an angel. „Don’t let your chances pass by again, Gibbs. Give her the love she deserves. I will always be here for you, waiting. And someday we’ll meet again. But this moment doesn’t belong to me. You don’t.“
Gibbs couldn’t lose his eyes from the beautiful woman in front of him, the one he had always loved but never admitted to do so. He had always been so close to her, yet always kept that distance that gave him the illusion of safety: safe from being hurt. It had all been a lie, a safety that had turned into a snowflake melting in the sun. But even if snow melted, he could still have and enjoy it as long as it was winter. And he knew, it would always return with every winter, and every Christmas Eve again. He had never taken chances with Katie – but he could with Hollis.
Eventually he kissed her slim fingers one last time, their eyes drowning in each other for a final moment, and then he let go of her.
He closed his eyes in order to stop a single tear from forming. The snow around him suddenly seemed to sparkle in all colors, as if it was reflecting all the light on earth at once. It became lighter and lighter, until he had to squeeze his eyes shut. „Kate…“ he murmured, trying to get a hold of her again, but she was gone – swallowed by the winterstorm and the brightness of the light.
He opened his eyes into the bright light and blinked… once… twice…
Then he sat upright, staring directly into the face of Anthony Dinozzo, who was grinning at him. „Hey, boss…“
„Dinozzo!“ Gibbs grumbled and rubbed his eyes quickly. „Turn that lamp away from me!“
„Sorry boss!“ the younger agent hurried to turn the desk lamp away from his boss, before he returned to his own desk. „What are you still doing here? I though you said you would go home soon after we left!“
„What time is it?“ Gibbs asked, ordering the papers of their latest file on his desk.
„Way past eleven. I just had to return because I forgot Jeanne’s present and I want her to have it in the morning.“ Tony searched through the drawers of his desk and had finally found the little, neatly wrapped package. He smiled at it for a moment with glistening eyes and then grinned at his boss. „I am so looking forward to see her face when she unwraps it, and finds out what I got her. There’s nothing more beautiful than that expression of joy, happiness and love in the eyes of the woman you are in love with…“ He grinned, beheld the grumpy expression of his boss and then shrugged. „Alright, I’ll go home. Merry Christmas Gibbs…“
„Dinozzo!“ Gibbs got up from his desk, and the younger man slowed slightly down.
Gibbs held his eyes for some moments, then his expression became soft. „For once, you are right. There is nothing more beautiful… Merry Christmas.“
Tony stared at his boss, then nodded and left, totally bewildered by the behavior of the older man. Usually he avoided any discussion about Christmas. To him it was just a pathetic reminder of his three failed marriages and his dead wife and daughter. But, Tony thought to himself, he could have sworn that just a few moments ago, he had heard Gibbs murmur Kate’s name.
Gibbs opened the drawer of his desk and looked at the silver bottle of scotch. He pulled it out and opened it, but then hesitated. Here he was sitting, trying to get drunk in order to forget that it was Christmas – just like every year. Looking around, he found that was the only one left in the office. Everyone else had gone home to celebrate the holiday with the family.
Eventually, he put the bottle back in the drawer determinedly and grabbed his coat, and his cellphone from one of the pockets. While pulling the warm cloth on, he pressed speeddial two. It rang… once… twice… then a female voice answered.
„Col. Mann here…?“ It sounded somewhat sleepy.
„It’s me.“ Gibbs started and hesitated. The other end remained silent. „I’m sorry for waking you up. I know you probably have to be up early tomorrow… I was just thinking that… maybe I could come over, and we could wake up together in the morning.“
Another long silence. Then: „Sure!“
The voice of the woman sounded surprised. „But I thought you had other plans…“
„I did.“ Gibbs smiled and looked at the portrait of himself, that Kate had once drawn and that was now lying in the drawer under the bottle with scotch – a constant reminder of her. „But… well… maybe I’ve had ghosts convincing me that work could wait for three days.“
„Wow…“ He could hear her laugh softly. „Well, then tell those ghosts thank you from me. I’ll be waiting for you…“ Her last words turned into a whisper. „Jethro… I’m glad that you changed your mind.“
„Me too.“ He replied and then smiled softly. „Holly, I love you.“ It was the first time that he was saying the words outloud. „See you in half an hour.“ She didn’t even have a chance to answer anything to his revelation before he ended the call.
He hurried to grab his scarf and throw the empty paper-cup away, then he hurried to the elevators and left the building two minutes later. When he stepped outside, he was surprised to find cold snowflakes hit him in the face. It had started to snow for the first time this year. He looked up at the sky, gazing into the swirling and dancing flakes that made their long way from the sky down to earth.
When he focused his attention back to the street in front of him, his eyes fell on the tree that was standing next to his car. For a split-second he believed to see a young woman in a red coat who was standing next to it, looking at him. But then she was gone, vanished in the chaos of the white flakes that would soon have covered the earth with a soft blanket.
„I’ll see you again, Katie…“ he whispered into the snowy night, before he continued his way to his car.
It was Christmas Night.
– The END (Dec 24, 2007)
Lyrics taken from the song „So Close“ by Jon McLaughlin, part of the Disney movie „Enchanted“, which was the Walt Disney Christmas feature 2007.