Title: Void
Fandom: NCIS

Author: Susan217
Rating: PG-13
Category: Death Fic, Angst, Slight romance (G/K)
Spoilers: None really.

Disclaimer: These characters are not mine. They were only borrowed for recreational purposes.

Summary: Set in the future. Kate is handed a heavy responsibility. DEATH FIC.

A/N: Lady Peach is my beta. All mistakes are mine. DEATH FIC. I'm not warning you again. Run screaming from the monitor if you don't like angst.

She was exhausted. It felt as if she hadn't slept in decades and she knew that it she probably couldn't hide it any longer.

How did he do it?

The thought left a familiar sickness in her stomach and she inwardly screamed.

One day. One day is all I ask. One day when I can forget.

"Kate, you alright?"

Tony was watching, the computer in front of him casting him in an eerie pale green light.

"I'm fine, Tony."

"Maybe you should go home, get some sleep."

Sleep. So I can dream.

She involuntarily shuddered.

"Really. I'm fine."

The phone rang at the empty desk beside her and the office itself seemed to hold its breath.

McGee stood and answered it. They had requested him to fill the void.

"I'm going to go for coffee. Anybody want anything?" She didn't really pay attention to their answers as she walked alone to the elevator. She pushed the button stepping through as it opened.

The break room was thankfully empty. She'd quickly grown tired of the sympathetic eyes, and the sincere but unwanted offers of condolences.

She opened the cabinet above the coffee pot and began shoving mugs aside looking for her own.

"This thing used to be organized. These people are slobs…"

Bumping another out of the way she saw his green mug pushed to the back. She picked up the chipped cup, and ran her fingers over the edge. Its inside was stained from years of coffee, the paint barely green anymore. She poured a small amount of coffee in, and sat down.

He holds the coffee cup steady in his palm. Smiles at her.

"Stop it." She was so tired of remembering. Just a moment where the white hot pain of grief didn't consume her entire being. She closed her eyes tightly.

The phone broke into her sleep, and she blindly reached for it, answering tersely.

"Katie?"

She sat up quickly, pushing the covers aside, her mind instantly focused. "Gibbs? What's wrong?"

"I need you to do something for me."

"Ok. But couldn't you have waited to ask me tomorrow morning?" she asked, forcing a laugh.

"Dinozzo can be a real pain in the ass, but he's got good instincts. Don't let his bravado push you into not listening to him."

A shiver ran down her spine. "What?"

"But don't let him get over confident. Abby is your right arm, Ducky your left. Occasionally you need to ply Abby with Jumbo Cokes. But it's always worth it."

"Gibbs, where are you?" she stood and started yanking her clothes on.

"Don't always ignore Ducky's lectures. Sometimes you'll learn something."

"Just tell me where you are. Please."

"And you. You're in charge. I'm entrusting them to you. They need someone to look after them."

She grabbed her car keys and headed out into the driveway, barefoot, tripping over the welcome mat. "Gibbs, please. Please. Just tell me." She choked on the words.

"There is a folder in my top right hand drawer. Tony has the keys. Tell him I said it was OK."

She fumbled with the keys trying to open her car door.

"You were the best thing that ever came into my life, Katie."

The phone beeped. She hit redial…

There were news reports. Wanted terrorist found dead, Special Agent Jethro Gibbs had died shortly after from injuries received in the line of duty.

A haunted office mourning one of their own. Eyes looking to Kate for some kind of reassurance, her learning the specifics of running a team on her own, learning to be the leader.

She swiped at the tears in irritation. "I'm going to be OK."

He needed me to get past this.

Her cell phone rang. "Todd."

"Kate, you almost done? We've got a new lead down here."

"I'm on my way, Tony."

She hung up and poured the reaming coffee down the drain. Grabbing a paper towel she rinsed out the cup and opened the cabinet. She placed the mug in the back and closed the door.

Sighing, she headed back for the bullpen, hitting the lights as she left. There was only one way to go. Forward.