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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:58 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 5:39 pm
Posts: 963
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Name: Jen
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Title: Abby’s Christmas Carol
Rating: FR13 (to be safe)
Summary: The big guy and three familiar faces help Abby and Gibbs at Christmas.
Written for: IMSLES
Word Count: 4,541

Abby's Christmas Carol


Abby turned the lights off in the lab. The major and her babies were sleeping for the night and if she was lucky, she wouldn't have to come in on Christmas day. With a quiet "Merry Christmas" she was out the door and heading for the elevator.

For the first time in a while her backlog was almost non-existent. Her step was light as she made her way to her car. She had a few stops to make on her way home. Her first stop was the children's shelter to drop off presents to help Santa with his work that night. Abby believed children were precious and they all deserved a good surprise Christmas morning.

Her next stop was at the coffee shop where she picked up the special order coffees she'd bought for Gibbs, Tony and Tim. For Ziva and Ducky it was a selection of their favorite teas. Palmer's gift was special this year because it was for him and Breena – his and hers massage oils. To some, that may seem inappropriate, but Jimmy had let it slip in her lab just last week that Breena wanted them to learn sensual massage. Abby remembered the time she asked Jimmy for a massage and how good those few moments felt before Tony’s head slap made him back away from her.

Quickly heading home, she hung her coat up and went to her table. Wrapping paper, scissors, tape and ribbon were scattered on it waiting to be used for the last of her gifts. Smiling at the presents wrapped under her tree, she set out measuring, wrapping, and taping the last purchases. When they were wrapped, she pulled her ribbon to her and started making the bows to go on the boxes. The clock was nearing midnight by the time she finished and the kettle on her stove whistled.

Ducky had been influencing her drinking habits lately, bringing her tea at the end of the day and talking with her about life. She appreciated his help. Since finding out she had been adopted and telling Gibbs, she wasn’t sure what to do. A few days into Ducky visiting, she’d confided in him as well. Now the team knew too, but Gibbs and Ducky were the only ones who’d heard her doubts, her fears. Who was she really? Who was her family? Who were her parents? She’d been adrift since finding out she had a brother and the team was her only anchor. That reassured her and kind of worried her at the same time. She didn’t want to feel like this.

Her cup was empty and Abby knew she needed to try and sleep before tomorrow. They’d be getting together at Gibb’s house early for dinner and she wanted to be the Abby everyone knew her to be. She didn’t like having doubts and she didn’t like it when those doubts got her down. Turning back the covers on her bed, she was about to slip in when she heard it - a bumping from the living room. Freezing, Abby turned around quietly, looking for something to use as a weapon. All she had near her bed was an empty tube that had held wrapping paper. Picking it up, she inched her way back to her bedroom door.

Realizing how crazy she was being, she stepped back and grabbed her cell phone. She was pressing the number to call Gibbs when she heard, “Hello, Abigail.”

Blinking hard, Abby stared at the man in front of her. She glanced behind him at her tree and thought she saw more gifts than there were before. Shaking her head, she muttered, “What was in that tea?”

“Ho, ho, ho,” the man laughed. “I’ve always enjoyed your sense of humor, Abigail. And I’ve appreciated all your help over the years.”

“Help?”

Nodding, he said, “All the gifts you’ve donated over the years. Between what you bring and what I bring, the children at the shelter have at least one bright morning every year.” Looking troubled, he murmured, “I just haven’t found a loophole to help them throughout the rest of the year.”

Abby took a step closer. “Santa?”

His face cleared and he smiled at her. “Yes, Abigail, I’m Santa.”

“What are you doing here?”

“I’ve come to help you.” He took her hand and drew her into the living room, closer to the Christmas tree. “You’ve been having some trouble recently and I couldn’t let it last. Now, you sit right here,” he motioned to the couch. “I have more stops to make, but I’ve got some great helpers tonight. They’ll be coming in to help you see things a bit more clearly.”

“What are you talking about, Santa?”

“Just rest,” Santa told her and Abby’s eyes felt heavy and gritty, as if she couldn’t wait to get to sleep. “Your first visitor will be here soon.” He waited until she was sleeping and then disappeared. There were children waiting for him.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Abby was chilly. She reached for a blanket and got her hand grabbed for her troubles. Her eyes flew open and she sat back in shock. “Kate?”

Her friend smiled. “I was about to think you’d sleep through my visit, Abby.” Kate held a book in one hand and motioned for Abby to move over with the other. “Scoot over, girl. We have some things to go over and we don’t have much time.”

Abby looked down and realized the book was a photo album. Her photo album from when she was a little girl.

Kate patted Abby’s leg. “I hear you’ve been having doubts about your family and who they really were. I’m here to show you.”

The book opened and photos Abby didn’t remember covered the pages. Laughing, Kate pointed to one. “This had to be after the superglue incident with your brother.” Tapping another, she asked, “Tell me about this one.”

Abby looked at the photo and was drawn back to that day. “We were having a picnic after church. We used to have kids come over all the time. My parents didn’t mind the noise, of course, and company was welcome as long as we didn’t get in trouble.” Abby smiled. “There were these two boys who had lived in a foster home since they were a few months old, grew up like twins. The state was about to split them up because their foster parents were moving – the dad had been promoted but the promotion meant leaving our area. Randy and Bret were 12 at the time. They were sad and angry. Randy was running around and he broke this toy car one of the little kids was playing with. My dad sat him down and talked to him.”

“About what?” Kate asked.

“Most of the kids knew finger spelling, but dad was full on lecturing him and Randy looked at me.” Abby frowned as she remembered her dad’s words. “Dad told Randy that anger was a natural emotion to feel when life was tearing things apart around you. Uncertainty with what the future held makes adults have moments where they want to go crazy and it had to be worse for kids who didn’t control their lives. He told Randy to remember Bret would always be his brother no matter what, no matter where they went. And six years wasn’t a long time when you look at a lifetime. They could always keep in touch; they might even go to the same school. And they could definitely apply to the same colleges.

Randy told my dad he didn’t want to be split up from Bret. He was angry that his real parents didn’t want him to start with and he was angry that the state felt they had a right to let two boys grow up as brothers and then tear them apart. He wanted to know what gave them the right to do that. My dad didn’t have an answer that would appease Randy. He left our house that day as angry as he was when he arrived. He ran away a few days later. Bret was scared to death for his brother and their foster parents were frantic. The police had been out looking for him, the weather was getting cooler at night. Randy showed up on our doorstep, crying, about a week later. My dad hugged him tight as I called the police and his parents. Randy told him it wasn’t fair that he was losing his parents, his brother and the aunt and uncle he had in my parents.” Abby looked at Kate and blinked at the tears in her eyes.

“What happened when the police got there?” Kate prompted Abby to continue.

“The child services worker wanted to remove Randy that night but his parents rushed in and hugged him. Bret broke into the circle and they stood there hugging and crying over their broken family. The dad, Mr. Clayton, looked at his wife and she nodded her head. He looked at the child services worker and told her it wouldn’t be necessary. He had turned down the promotion before Randy had run away, but they hadn’t had a chance to tell the boys yet. He and his wife wanted to keep the boys and stay a family. The next week their inquiries about adopting the boys were answered. They’d been waiting for the system to track down both boys parents and determine if their parental rights could be terminated. They became a family within a year.”

“They became a family?” Kate asked.

Abby looked down at the photos in the book. They had changed to show pictures of Randy and Bret from babies through their high school graduation. “They always were a family,” Abby whispered, tracing Randy’s face under his graduation cap.

Turning to Kate, she found the seat beside her empty and the photos in the book were back to ones from her childhood. “We always were a family.” Leaning down, she kissed the photo of her parents smiling at her and Luca on Christmas morning. Abby smiled. “Thanks, Kate.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Abby rolled over and kicked the blanket off her feet.

“Ouch!”

Falling off the couch, Abby pushed her hair out of her eyes. “Jenny?”

Helping Abby stand up, Jenny pulled her into a hug. “Hello Abby.”

“Santa sent you?” Abby asked.

“Yes, he did.” Jenny snagged Abby’s coat from where she’d placed it on the back of the couch. “Come on, we have somewhere to be.”

Slipping on the coat and putting on her shoes, Abby followed Jenny out of her apartment. “Do I get to know where we are going?”

“Get us a taxi, Abby, then I’ll tell you.”

The taxi ride was silent and the driver said, “Doesn’t look like anyone’s awake here,” as he pulled in front of a dark house.

Abby stared out the window. “It’s okay,” she told him. “His door is always open.”

The driver shrugged and accepted Abby’s money. “Should I wait?”

“No, you go on. It’s fine.” She stepped out and Jenny walked her up to the porch.

“Take a look Abby.” Jenny motioned toward the window and the dark room lit up.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~


The fire was burning brightly in the fireplace as Tony wrestled a large tree into the stand. “A little help here, McGee!”

McGee looked up from the box of tangled lights and replied, “Looks like you’re doing just fine Tony.” Reaching into the box, he lifted a clump of lights and started searching for one end to work with. “Besides, I have to get these straight before Gibbs gets back with the decorations.”

Ziva walked in from the kitchen and laughed at the two men. “Here,” she said. “I’ll handle to lights, you help Tony.”

McGee gladly turned over the tangled mess and stepped over to the tree. “You want me to hold it in place while you take care of the stand?”

“Sure.” Tony agreed. “We have to put water in the stand too, we can’t forget that. If the tree starts to die before Christmas, Gibbs may just kill us.”

“Wonder what made Gibbs volunteer his house this year?” McGee asked.

“Abby asked him to,” Ziva told him as she untangled the second strand of lights. McGee saw the first strand lying perfectly untangled and Ziva grinned. “I like puzzles.”

“Should have known,” Tony grunted from under the tree. “Abby is the only one Gibbs would do this for.”

“She is special to us all, Tony,” Ziva chided. “And she has been having a rough time lately.”

Tony scooted out from under the tree just as Gibbs walked in with bags of decorations. Jimmy Palmer was shifting nervously behind him holding Breena’s hand. “Ran into Palmer and Breena at the store.”

Taking the lead, Breena led Jimmy into the house. “We asked if we could help out.”

“The more the merrier,” McGee welcomed them before getting water for the tree stand.

“Are we decorating the tree only or the whole house?” Jimmy inquired.

Gibbs looked around his living room at all that had been done so far. Opening the shopping bags, he replied, “Just make sure this all gets used.”

Ziva looked in the bags and asked, “What will you be doing Gibbs?”

Picking up the last bag, he said, “Feeding my decorators.”

“Food?” Tony perked up. “We get food for this?”

Gibbs leveled a look at him. “Can you keep all this a secret DiNozzo?”

“Of course, Boss.” Tony grinned and started stringing the untangled lights on the tree.

Breena and Jimmy started hanging garland around the room as McGee opened the boxes of decorations.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~


“They decorated Gibbs’ house? When did they do this?”

“Last weekend.”

“They did this for me?”

Jenny smiled. “Who else? Jethro isn’t one to go all out at Christmas, Abby.”

“He had a tree up when Jackson came to visit him,” Abby told her.

“Jackson bought that tree and had the decorations shipped from Stillwater, Abby, you know that. You’re special to them. You always have been. You’ve doubted who you are Abby. They know who you are. People aren’t just the DNA that creates them. It’s the little things, the details that show who you are to others. You care, Abby. That’s one of the biggest and best things you give them. In all honesty, you’re the one they return to again and again, case after case. And you’re always there with open arms to welcome them home with one of your hugs.”

Abby pressed her hand against the glass, watching as her friends decorated Gibbs’ house so that she’d have a true Christmas celebration. Her breath frosted on the window as the room grew dark and the reflection next to her was not what she expected. The gravelly voice rumbled from his chest. “Hello Abby.”

Grinning, she looked from the window to the man and said, “Hi Mike.”

The older man looked through the window and said, “I have somethin’ to show you.”

Tilting her head before turning back to the window, Abby watched as the room grew light again.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Ziva placed the angel on the top of the tree before carefully climbing off the step ladder back into McGee’s arms. The two snuggled together as McGee’s hand rested on the small bump of Ziva’s belly.

“Merry Christmas, Tim,” Ziva said, reaching up to touch his face.

“Happy Hanukah, Ziva,” Tim told her before kissing the top of her head.

“Hey! Stop all the lovey-dovey stuff, McProbies and get in here. These cookies aren’t going to decorate themselves,” Tony griped before grinning.

“Don’t listen to him, Tim,” Sara said as she pinched Tony’s butt. “He enjoys the lovey-dovey stuff.”

McGee shut his eyes against the sight of his partner kissing his sister. “I’m still not used to that.”

“Tim, they’ve been engaged for four months now,” Ziva reminded him. “I think you should get used to it.”

“No. Not gonna happen,” he said, shaking his head.

The doorbell rang and Abby bounced down the stairs. “I’ve got it!”

She appeared again, carrying a baby girl, cooing at her as Jimmy and Breena hung up their coats. “Hello Skye! You’re getting more and more beautiful every time I see you.”

Jimmy placed the gifts under the tree as Breena joined the ladies in the kitchen. Tony and McGee moved out to the living room as Ducky came in carrying his gifts. The men stood around the tree talking quietly until Abby stuck her head around the corner.

“These cookies won’t decorate themselves you know,” she scolded as they made their way back to the kitchen. She hugged Ducky with one arm and turned back to snuggle Skye against her. “Where did Gibbs get off to now?” she questioned, missing the look the men shared as they smiled and started decorating gingerbread cookies.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Abby turned to Mike. “Past, present and future?”

He nodded.

“So where’s Gibbs?”

“I can’t show you everything Abby.”

“Why was I upstairs?” She nodded to the window.

“Well,” Mike grinned, “probably because that’s where you’ll be sleeping.”

Laughter burst from Abby. “You’re crazy! Why would I be sleeping at Gibbs’ house? Will something happen to my place?”

“Abby, you’re special to Gibbs.”

“Right. He told me I’m like a daughter to him.”

“He told you that or that’s what you think he thinks?” Mike questioned, turning on his inner agent.

“He didn’t deny it, Mike.” Abby turned away from him, frowning. “If he felt differently, why wouldn’t he say so?”

Mike growled and muttered, “Looks like you aren’t the only one who needs help.”

Abby turned to ask what he meant and found herself staring at her Christmas tree. “What?” Mike was nowhere to be found. The blanket scrunched at the end of the couch the only indicator she’d been sleeping in her living room and not her bed. Checking the clock on the wall, she decided she’d be better off in her room for the rest of the night. Closing and locking her door, she hoped her visitors were gone so that she could get some sleep. As her eyes drifted closed, she felt the doubts leaving her mind and she slept peacefully for the first time in weeks.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~


“You’re an idiot, Probie.”

Gibbs’ hand stilled on the wood he was working with as he turned his head toward an impossible sight. “Mike?”

“I won’t be here for long, so you better pay attention and pay attention well. You’re not dreaming. You won’t believe that in the morning but you aren’t. You got issues, hell, everyone has issues and I know yours about as well as you do. You can’t live in the past Gibbs. There isn’t any future in that. You finally decorated your house for Christmas and that’s a step in the right direction. Don’t you think you need to start opening up just a little before you find yourself alone on a beach in Mexico drinking at the cantina every day?”

“What are you talking about Mike?” Gibbs had an inkling, but he liked it when people spelled things out – tended to save on misunderstandings.

“Abby. She needs you Gibbs and you need her. You have since she wormed her way under your shell. Those three ex-wives of yours never got anywhere near your heart like that girl has.”

“She deserves …”

“She deserves to be loved, Gibbs. She thought she was lost when she found out about her brother. We’ve been trying to help her see that she’s had a family and she’s always known who she was, but she also needs to know how you feel.”

Gibbs shook his head and turned away, only to be pushed back to face Mike Franks. “I know how you feel. Hell, your entire team can see how you feel even though you think they think it’s just as friends. Why do you think they helped you? Why do you think they were looking for a woman for you? Because they see how stubborn you are and thought maybe by forcing you to think about someone else they’d get you to admit what you feel for Abby.”

Angry, Gibbs turned away again. “You didn’t talk this much the entire time I stayed in Mexico.”

“That’s the funny thing about where I am now. Makes you see what’s important. I was hoping you’d learn that before it was too late.”

Gibbs jerked around to find Franks gone and the box he was finishing open with a picture inside. A picture of Abby, curled up asleep on his chest the morning after her discovery. Lifting the picture, Gibbs shook his head. What was he going to do with Abby? What would he do without her?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~


A fire was burning in the fireplace and chairs had been pulled from rooms in the house to sit around the table. Everyone had pushed their plates back except for Jimmy. He was finishing the last bite of his dessert.

“That pie was delicious, Abby,” Breena said.

“Thank you!” Abby beamed at the praise.

She had been more upbeat today than she had in a while. Gibbs had been watching her, remembering his visit with Franks from early that morning. He stood and moved toward the tree. “I think it’s time to give out these gifts.”

McGee, Ziva and Abby sat on the couch while Breena sat in the arm chair and Jimmy stood beside her, until Breena stood back up, maneuvered Jimmy into the chair and sat on his lap. They’d had Christmas morning with her family and they’d be leaving soon to spend time with Jimmy’s family, but for now, they were with the team. Tony leaned against the fireplace and Ducky pulled a chair in from the kitchen.

“Hey, how are we going to do this?” Tony wanted to know. “Open presents one at a time or rip into them all at once?”

“Since Jimmy and Breena have to be somewhere in a bit, why don’t we rip into them all at once,” Abby suggested.

They looked at the gifts Abby had wrapped and decorated so nicely. “You sure, Abs?” Gibbs asked.

She rolled her eyes. “Of course! The wrapping isn’t supposed to last past opening the gifts!”

“Okay then.” Tony grinned and ripped open his presents.

Everyone started laughing and followed his example. Soon the room was filled with flying gift wrap and exclamations of “Thank you,” “I can’t believe it,” “How did you know?” Breena’s giggle and blush caught Tony’s attention and he asked Jimmy, “Whatcha got there, Gremlin?”

Jimmy blushed and quickly turned the tables. “McGee, look up.”

McGee looked up and noticed the mistletoe hanging over his head. It was hidden in the garland and only obvious when you looked close. “Palmer, did you do this?”

“I did it,” Breena admitted.

Abby leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Your turn, Ziva,” she said. Ziva smiled slyly and put her hands on McGee’s face. Bringing him down to her, she kissed him fully on the mouth. In surprise, McGee brought his hands up to her arms and kissed her back. The room grew quiet as they kissed on before Tony said, “Come on McProbies, stop all the lovey-dovey stuff! We have more presents to open.”

Abby stilled as Tony spoke and then she smiled. Leaning around McGee, she said to Ziva, “I should have told you to kiss him last Christmas.”

McGee laughed and noticed the gift in Abby’s hands. “When you gonna open your last gift Abby?”

Rolling with his change of subject, she pulled the wrapping paper off and gasped at the box in her hands. The top was decorated with small paintings: skull and crossbones, a heart, a Caf-Pow cup, a parasol. Each item was something she’d worn or used at one time or another. “Gibbs, it’s beautiful!”

“Glad you like it, Abs.”

Tony once again broke the peace and quiet by ripping the paper off his last gift. “Awesome!” He held up the replica wooden Corvette Gibbs had made him.

Abby and Breena stood up and started collecting the discarded wrapping paper while Jimmy spoke with Ducky, Tony and Gibbs gathered more wood for the fire and McGee spoke quietly with Ziva about their kiss. Abby stayed in the kitchen and started cleaning the dishes as each person said their goodbyes to Gibbs and left to finish Christmas in their own way.

“You don’t have to clean my kitchen, Abby.”

“I know that Gibbs, but you don’t deserve to deal with the clean-up alone. You did volunteer your house for this shindig after all.”

Gibbs opened a drawer beside the sink and pulled out a dish towel. “Well, if you insist on washing up, I’ll dry and put them away.”

They worked companionably until all the dishes were clean and the food was stored in the fridge. Abby went back to look at her jewelry box, opening it this time and finding a new collar inside. “Gibbs! I saw this in the window the other day.”

“The store is near the coffee shop. I needed a fresh cup and saw you standing, looking at the display.”

“Gibbs,” Abby said again. “I’ve been thinking lately, about what you said about family.”

Taking a seat near her, he asked, “And what have you decided?”

Abby sighed. “I still wonder about my birth parents and probably will until I find out who they are. But my family hasn’t changed. My mom and dad loved and raised me. They will always be my mom and dad. Luca is still my brother and now I have another brother I’d like to get to know better. I won’t though, not until I know for sure about my birth parents. And then there’s the team. I couldn’t ask for a better second family than you guys.”

Gibbs rubbed his forehead and decided to bite the bullet. He looked up to see the mistletoe above his head. If he was wrong, Abby would set him straight. Taking her chin in his hand, he tilted her face up and kissed her lips softly. Abby gasped and pressed into him, returning his kiss until he pulled away.

Blurting out the first thought in her head, Abby said, “I never really saw you as a surrogate father.”

Laughing heartily, Gibbs said, “That’s good Abby.” He paused for a moment and then continued. “You were wrong before you know. The night you came to see me. You wanted me to tell you I love you like a daughter and that things wouldn’t change.”

“You never answered me.”

“I couldn’t. Not then. How could I tell you I never loved you like a daughter but as a woman? How could I do that to you when I didn’t know what would happen? I didn’t want you in danger Abby.”

Abby stared at Gibbs. “You love me?”

He kissed her again. “Yes, Abby, I love you. I’ve fought it for a long time; don’t think I want to fight it anymore.”

Abby threw her arms around him and held on tight. “I love you too, Gibbs. I’ve loved you a long time.”

Gibbs leaned back on the couch taking Abby with him. Kissing her gently once more, he said, “Merry Christmas, Abby.”

“Merry Christmas, Gibbs.”

The End

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