The whole team walked into the bullpen. Zach was sitting in Gibbs chair, playing the Nintendo DS. He looked up and saw their expressions and immediately panicked.
"Gibbs! Did you find my dad?" He stood up and put the DS on Gibbs' desk.
"Zach, with me," Gibbs said and the boy scrambled to keep up with him, because the man was already half-way up the stairs that led to the Director's office.
"We going to see Madame Director?" Gibbs smiled.
"Who taught you that?" he asked, despite the heavy news.
"Tony told me to call her that," Zach said. "Why?"
"Next time, slap him."
"Okay." The boy shrugged. They were now in the Director's waiting room. In Gibbs-fashion, Zach walked right past Cynthia and burst into Jenny's office.
"You can't go in there," echoed past the two men—well, more like one man and one boy—as they stood in Jenny's office.
"Jethro..." Jenny warned. She was sitting in her chair, looking out the window, her back turned to her desk and the three people standing in front of it.
"Wasn't me. It was Zach," Gibbs cut in.
"It wasn't me. It was Gibbs," Zach defended and Gibbs turned on him with a glare.
"Cynthia, we're okay." Cynthia went to exit and close the door. "Which one was it?"
"The little one, ma'am," were her final words, before the door closed. Jenny turned around to face the two people. Gibbs was smirking and Zach had a convincing smile.
"Okay, so it was me. Gibbs taught me," Zach said and pointed upward, in Gibbs direction. Gibbs smug expression remained in place. Jenny shook her head.
"Did you find my dad?" Zach asked, suddenly remembering. Both adults' faces faltered.
"Zach, I was wrong. Your dad is not guilty. We cleared him of all charges," Jenny said.
"So you found him? Where is he?!" He became a bit panicky again.
"Zach, we arrived too late. He died," Gibbs said softly, turning to the boy.
"No... no, no!" He turned to look at the Director, who nodded.
"No! He can't be dead! He's not dead! He can't be!" he yelled in the general direction of the Director, but then he turned to Gibbs, and in a small voice, "You promised me, Gibbs!" The boy was really freaking out, completely in denial.
"I'm sorry," Gibbs softly said. Jenny's gaze snapped to his, she had never heard him apologize before.
"I don't believe you!" Zach ran out of the office, down the stairs, only briefly stopping in the bull pen to have the three Field Agents gaze at him in sympathy.
"No!" He ran to the elevator that had just opened. He pushed past the exiting people and pressed the button to Abby's lab. He pulled the emergency switch and slid down against the back wall, only now letting the tears flow freely. After five minutes of crying, he decided to get out of the elevator, hating the way it made him feel a little claustrophobic. He pushed the emergency switch back in and the doors opened to Abby's lab. Abby was standing in front of the elevator, obviously waiting. When she saw the occupant, her face registered surprise. She then noticed his tear-strained face and got in. She pulled the emergency switch and turned to Zach. She sat down on the floor and patted next to her.
"Sit, Zach." The boy did as he was told. Abby put an arm around his little shoulders and pulled him to her.
"When I feel sad, I go to Bert." Zach looked up at her in question.
"Who's Bert?" Abby produced, from her other hand, the hippopotamus.
"This is Bert. He always makes me feel better." Abby handed Bert over to Zach who squeezed the hippo, which in turn made the hippo fart. This made Zach smile and a chuckle escaped.
"See, I told you," Abby said. Zach placed his head in her lap as a few tears escaped him. Abby miraculously stayed quiet long enough for the boy to fall asleep, and the hand stroking his hand certainly helped.
Careful not to wake Zach up, Abby pressed the emergency button back in and dialed Gibbs.
"Yeah Abs," Gibbs said when he picked up.
"I have Zach." The elevator doors opened on the catwalk leading to the Director's office.
"Where are you?"
"The elevator opened on the Director's floor."
"Almost there." Abby could already see Gibbs on the last part of the stairs, Jenny trailing him. With her foot, she kept the doors open.
"Hey Abs." Gibbs carefully lifted Zach off of Abby.
"Put him on the couch in my office," Jenny said and walked to her office, Gibbs not far behind.
"Thank you, Abby," Jenny said and Abby winked, the elevator doors already closing.
Zach lay asleep on the comfortable black leather couch in Jenny's office. Two adults stood over him, watching him sleep.
"I really feel bad for him," Jenny said. Gibbs merely nodded.
"I mean, first his mother, now his dad. It's harsh. And he's probably gonna be living in foster homes for the rest of his young life."
"Maybe not," Gibbs muttered. Jenny turned to him, surprised for the second time that day by his actions.
"Jethro, what are you..." she trailed off as he left her office. She sighed and went to sit at her desk to work, glancing at the boy every now and then.