Chapter 1

0530 August 23, 2011.

Leroy Jethro Gibbs woke up ready to greet the day. He folded his blanket and put away his pillow from his make shift bed on the sofa in the living room. He never slept in the bed upstairs anymore. He either crashed on his couch or he fell asleep under his boat in the basement. He had done this almost every night since his lovely wife Shannon and his daughter Kelly had been killed in 1991. With the few exceptions of his three ex-wives this had been his routine for almost 20 years. Last night he had managed to make it up the stairs and collapse on his couch.

He walked toward the kitchen to put on some coffee. Then he walked up the stairs to get a shower while he waited for the coffee.

This was his life. His boat and bourbon in the evenings and going to work at NCIS during the day. Not much changed for this very lonely man. As he got ready for his shower he mentally went over the plan for the day. Usually he showered, dressed, got his coffee and headed for the local diner for breakfast. After breakfast he headed for the Navel yard and the offices of NCIS.

Today was different however. He would shower, dress, get coffee and breakfast and then head out on some errands. He had taken the morning off. This was a very unusual occurrence for him.

August 22, 2011 at 1300.

He had received a call from an old Marine core friend who needed a favor.

"Hey Gunny," Lt. James Wilson said when Gibbs had answered his phone. " I need your help. I have a daughter going to Georgetown University in the fall."

"Which one?" Gibbs asked.

" Mary Alice" James answered, " Can you believe it Gunny my last one is off to college?"

"Just seems like yesterday she was born Jim."

" I know. Well I have been looking for an apartment for her. Nothing fancy just a nice place in a good neighborhood," James began "Well I have one in mind. Found it on the Internet but I need to check it out."

"When are you coming? Would really like to catch up." Gibbs had replied.

"Can't get away until next week. I am afraid that this gem will be long gone by the time I can get to Washington."

"Sorry to hear that Jim. You want me to check it out for you?"

"That is the favor I was going to ask. Could you check it out, meet the landlord and see if it is suitable for Mary?"

"Would love too. Not a great judge of homes you know. Since I lost Shannon have not been much for living quarters."

" Look at it for security and as a father, Gunny. I trust your judgment. If you think it is ok get the landlord to call me and I will get the lease and such started over the phone."

"Sure thing. Where is it?"

"Got the address right here." James Wilson had given him an address a couple of blocks from the Georgetown campus. It was in an acceptable neighborhood.

" I am taking tomorrow morning off to get some errands done. So if we don't get a case I will call you after lunch and give you my opinion," Gibbs told him. James gave him the address on Piney Branch road in Silver Spring, MD. Remembering the area it looked like a good place for Mary.

House of Leroy Jethro Gibbs August 23, 2011 0600

Gibbs had finished his shower and had his first cup of coffee for the day so he headed out for breakfast at his favorite diner. He ate his eggs, bacon, toast and coffee while he read the paper.

Nobody really noticed him this morning. He just enjoyed the quiet and his paper. When he finished he paid the check and left on his errands.

Piney Branch road in Silver Spring, MD 1:30 pm.

Gibbs met with the landlord, who seemed like the nice fatherly type and lived on the premises so Mary would be well looked after. He name was Walter Gordon and he took Gibbs down to the basement apartment that Gibbs came to look at.

" Look around all you want Special Agent Gibbs. I have to go upstairs and fix a leaky toilet," Mr. Gordon told him. " Lock up when you leave. Please."

" Be glad too. " Gibbs smiled and began to walk around the apartment. It was a nice place. It had a small living room and a nice kitchen just the right size for a college student in her first apartment. He walked into the bedroom.

There was room for a bed and a desk and their seemed to be enough plugs for a computer and TV. He could see Kelly living here while she was going to college.

His mind wandered back to the day Kelly was born. He was sitting next to Shannon in her hospital bed. Both of them were staring at the little baby girl they had brought into this world.

" Is she not the most beautiful baby in the world Jethro?" Shannon smiled. "She is so alert. It seem like she is just studying us."

"Yep she seems to be sizing us up. She looks at me and sees I have a sucker I can twist around my little finger," he had said taking the baby from Shannon. " Am I right Kelly? You know your daddy would do anything for you. "

"Promise me something Jethro."

"What sweetheart? I can't refuse you anything. You know that."

" When she grows up I want her to go to college. She can do whatever she wants even be a marine but I want her to go to college."

"Absolutely Shannon. I totally agree. She will."

Smiling to himself remembering that day brought him a small tear. "Wish I was picking this out for you Kel. Always wondered how far you would have gone in this world."

Just then his phone rang. The caller ID read Abby. "What is it Abbs?" he answered.

"Gibbs I am so glad I reached you. I was so worried. You always come in early. Tony said you took the day off. Are you sick? No Gibbs never gets sick. Are you on a case? Where are you Gibbs?"
"ABBY" he growled, " Slow down girl. I am fine. I had a few errands to run. I am getting ready to head in right now. Should be there in about 20."

" Oh I am so glad. I was so worried about you."

" I am ok Abbs." Just then the ground began to shake and rumble. His phone began to loose signal.

"Gibbs!" Abby yelled. "What was that?"

" Sounds like an earthquake Abbs. I am ok. I will be there soon." The phone call ended as Abby heard a loud rumble and then a crash that sounded like the roof falling in. Then the line went dead.

A horrified Abby raced toward the stairs with tears in her eyes. "Please let him be ok," Abby thought. She looked at the clock. 1:51 on August 23, 2011.