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by: taylorgibbs (Send Feedback)
Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 3216
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo, Ducky Mallard, Abby Sciuto, Ziva David, Timothy McGee, Other Female Character, Shannon Gibbs
Category(ies): Character Study, Holiday
Episode(s): 3-24 Hiatus (2)
Summary: Snapshots of past Thanksgivings.
Author Notes: Thanks to Cat for the beta and Carina for the sanity read and awesome feedback!
I’m playing a bit with weather patterns, etc. as there is no easy way to search these. I’ve set Ziva and Tim at about the same age, even though canon suggests they’re 3 years apart.
Night before Thanksgiving, 1983
It was their second Thanksgiving as a married couple and Gibbs knew Shannon wanted everything to be perfect. But it wasn’t as perfect as Gibbs would have liked it. A freak storm had put a damper on her parents visiting, and she’d been fighting the flu or something. The roads were too snowy for Shannon’s parents or sister to attempt the drive.
When Shan had learned that her parents couldn’t make it, she’d actually cried, which wasn’t like her at all. Shannon was disappointed, but after that initial burst of tears, she’d been philosophical about it all, which made Gibbs relax.
He pulled up to their house, which was far grander than they could have ever hoped for, and sat looking up at it. He still couldn’t believe they were living here in the suburbs instead of on base. Shannon’s Aunt Frances had lived here over twenty years and ever since she’d had a stroke two years ago, she’d been getting weaker, her balance the most affected. She’d moved Shannon in after her first fall down the stairs. Shannon and Gibbs now lived there free in exchange for round the clock care giving and home repairs.
Shannon had been worried that living with Aunt Fran would put a crimp in their married life, but so far, it hadn’t been bad. Fran’s bedroom had been moved into what was the den, and Gibbs and Shannon had the master bedroom and all the privacy that allowed. And the elderly woman was a nice lady who genuinely cared for them both. And Gibbs liked knowing neither of the ladies was alone when he was on base for long hours at a time.
He’d picked up two bunches of flowers, one a mix of roses for his wife and the other an autumn arrangement for Aunt Fran. Their aunt had insisted on buying all the groceries for their Thanksgiving feast, and Gibbs supposed flowers were the least he could do. He just hoped Shannon was up to cooking it all tomorrow morning.
Gibbs strode into the house and headed for the kitchen, Shannon’s melodic voice pointing the way as she told Aunt Fran about grocery shopping. As he stood in the doorway of the kitchen, he just watched her, wondering how the son of a general store owner had gotten so lucky. Gibbs firmly believed it was fate that had caused them to meet. Shannon wasn’t even from Stillwater and had only been there helping another aunt with her store.
Now this beautiful redhead was his wife, and he couldn’t be happier.
“Jethro!” she said, her eyes lighting up as she saw him. She looked at the flowers in his hands and burst into tears, running into his arms.
“Hey…”he said, wrapping her in as tight an embrace as he could without crushing the flowers.
“I love you,” she said, sniffing into his coat.
“Love you too, Shan. You okay?” This was so damned unlike her that a frisson of worry began running up and down his spine.
She tipped her head up and stared into his eyes. “Now I am…Daddy.”
“Daddy?” he asked, confused. She was looking at him so expectantly and with such joy. It finally clicked in his head, his whole reality shifting in a moment of pure joy. “Daddy?” he asked her again, his own voice shaking.
“Daddy,” Shannon affirmed, smiling through her tears. “We’re having a baby, Jethro! Happy Thanksgiving.”
As his mouth descended on hers, he couldn’t get over how lucky he was. He had an incredible wife…and soon an incredible baby.
“Mind yourselves. There’s an old lady watching!”
Gibbs chuckled against Shannon’s lips and pulled away, handing both Shannon and Aunt Fran their flowers. “Happy Thanksgiving, Aunt Fran.”
“You did good, Jethro. Make sure you two fill this house with children’s laughter.”
“We’ll do our best!” That was a promise he intended to keep.
Thanksgiving morning, 1985
At thirteen, Tony knew he should be cooler than this, but he’d been dying to go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade ever since he could remember, and this year, Dad had given in. Uncle Nunzio and Aunt Irene were holding the dinner this year and Mom and Dad hadn’t wanted to fight the traffic in to the city, so they’d stayed overnight in a hotel near Dad’s office.
Dad had wanted to watch the parade up on the twenty-eighth floor, but Tony and Mom had stood their ground. They wanted to watch it street level. What was the point in looking down at the balloons? Tony could watch it on TV then. The crowd was a part of the event, Mom had said. Dad muttered something about work never ending and when Tony and Mom were settled in with a thermos of coffee for Mom and one of hot chocolate for Tony, Dad had disappeared into his office building. He wasn’t fun like Mom was. Mom was the person Tony quoted movies with, the person he ate marshmallow fluff sandwiches for dinner with. Mom was fun and Dad was all business.
Dad had become even more serious this year and Tony had been sure his begging to go to the parade would be met with rolling eyes and “You’re too old for that nonsense, Boy.” But when Tony had mentioned it, Dad had immediately agreed without argument, his green eyes sad and shiny.
Tony knew exactly why, but he didn’t comment on it. Nobody did. It was the big secret in his family that actually wasn’t. He wasn’t supposed to notice that Mom was in a wheelchair now. That Mom coughed all the time. That Mom’s skin and the whites of her eyes were yellow. That Mom wasn’t eating much and she was all skin and bones. Tony knew what was going on, even if nobody bothered to say the words. Mom was dying. And that was why Dad had given in.
Tony tucked the blankets in tighter around his mother. She was bundled up, her smile huge, her energy level pretty high today, for a change. Some days it wasn’t like that. Tony had noticed a huge difference from summer to now, but he knew he couldn’t say a word, just kiss Mom on the cheek and tell her how beautiful she looked. She looked like a living skeleton now and when Tony had come home from school on break, he’d been so upset he’d gone to his room and cried like he was a little kid instead of a teenager.
“Tony, look! It’s Betty Boop! She’s never been in the parade before!” His mother’s voice at least was still strong, and Tony tried to smile, tried to pretend that the first time he was at the parade ever wasn’t one of the saddest days in his life. Maybe he could pretend he was in a TV show or movie and everything would be okay in an hour or two. TV and movies were much better than reality.
“That’s so cool, Mom! Happy Thanksgiving!” Tony tried to swallow his dread, knowing this would be her last.
Ziva David sat at the table and swung her legs back and forth. She didn’t understand why this Thanksgiving event had so much sport and cartoon turkeys and giant balloons on television. But she loved being in America with the shiny faced people and the televisions and the music and all the shops. She and her mother had been here only three days now, and this was the best day of all.
They were in a large restaurant in Washington, DC and were eating a grand meal. Unlike in Israel, Ziva didn’t have to worry about being out in a crowd. The Americans didn’t kill each other in groups, like in her country. They killed each other one by one and in the dark of night.
Her party dress was uncomfortable and Ziva wished she had a book. There were Americans and Israelis here, but they were all adults and outside of smiling or nodding at her, she was ignored. There had been a boy back at the embassy she’d talked to, but when he’d pulled her hair, she’d punched him in the nose. Papa had been very cross with her, but had gathered her close and told her she’d serve their country well very soon. Ziva couldn’t wait to finish with school and do just that.
Ziva tapped her mother’s arm as she stared at some reddish substance on her plate. “What is this?” she asked. Much of the food was similar to her culture’s harvest festival, but others were different. She hadn’t tasted this sweet fruit concoction before, but as she sampled it, she decided she liked it.
“Cranberry,” her mother said, giving her a gentle smile. “Make sure you eat every bite, Ziva. It won’t do to insult our guests or this American holiday.”
Ziva sighed and nodded, looking across the room. With nobody to talk with, she was terribly bored. She’d wished Ari or Michael or Hadar had been able to come along. Even though Ari was much older, he paid attention to her.
She watched as a family walked in and were brought to a table beside hers. The man was in a white uniform. Ziva was fairly certain he was United States Navy. The American looked very smart all dressed up, and he held out the chair for a woman who was carrying a young child. There was a boy as well, maybe a year older than herself.
Ziva missed Tali, who was too young to come on this trip. Ziva had offered to watch her sister, but everyone had said no. So, Tali and Ari, and Michael, and Hadar were home and she was here alone. Even though she was in a crowd of people.
Ziva smiled over at the boy, who looked just as bored as she was. He pulled out a box and began punching buttons on it, but his father pulled it away and tucked it into the boy’s suit coat pocket. The boy gave the man a very sour look before looking at Ziva. He was round faced in the way many Americans were and his suit was too small for him. He had pretty green eyes that she could see even though they were two meters away from each other.
“May I be excused?” she said softly, not liking the way the flatter English words came out of her mouth.
Her mother looked at her and Ziva nodded. Mother would know that she had to use the facilities. She was plenty old enough to do that on her own. “Keep alert,” Mother told her as she slid out of her chair. Ziva envied the Americans, never having to watch everyone and everything.
As she passed the nearby table, she motioned for the boy to follow her. She’d tracked where the bathrooms were when they’d walked in. Father always told her that she had to memorize all entrances and exits and now that Ziva was twelve, it was second nature to learn every point of entry.
The boy muttered something to his family and fell into step behind Ziva and when they were in the alcove by the lavatories, she turned to look at him, reaching into his pocket.
“Hey! What are you doing?” he asked, but she brushed him off, her curiosity taking control. Electronic games were not permitted in her household and she’d always been fascinated by such things.
“I am Ziva, and I wanted to look at your machine.”
“Tim. And you could have asked.”
“I’m asking now. Tim, may I look at your machine?”
“Fine,” he said with a shrug. “That’s Tetris. Do you want to play it with me?”
Ziva nodded. It appeared that she had her first American friend.
Ducky had been most busy at his job, and he and Mother had not had a chance to properly celebrate their new citizenship yet. They had been sworn in as new American citizens late last month and while they’d had a quick dinner out, Mother had traveled back to the UK for a month the very next morning. One of her dear friends had passed and she used the time to spend with relatives all over Scotland—and probably England as well. She’d only returned two days ago and they’d barely seen each other since.
Mallard Manor was alive with the sound of the corgis, still excited that Mummy was home. Ducky and Mother had a dinner for fifteen planned this evening, and it was to be a purely American affair. The turkey was prepped, the ingredients for the side dishes all organized and Ducky wanted to make an early lunch for him and Mother.
He looked out the window and watched her strolling the grounds, two dogs running around her. Though the years were creeping up on her, Mother’s posture and bearing was still strong. She did nor appear to be well into her seventies. She was also sharp as a tack, for which Ducky was most relieved. Friends of his talked about the horro that was a parent with dementia and he hoped never to experience that.
He put the hamburger patties under the broiler and checked on the French Fries. In Ducky’s mind there was no more quintessentially American meal than a hamburger, French Fries and apple pie. They’d have the pie later with dinner this evening.
The back door opened and Mother and the dogs swept in, bringing with them a blast of cold air. “Is lunch ready yet, Donald?”
“Nearly there, Mother.”
“What are we having? That butternut squash soup I saw you preparing yesterday? You mustn’t use so much nutmeg, dear. A little goes a long way.”
Ducky gave her an indulgent smile. “No, Mother. I thought it was time you and I had a proper American meal. Hamburgers and French Fries.”
“Oh, lovely, Donald! I’ll get the tomato sauce and Coca Cola, then!”
Ducky had to smile at the idea of his mother drinking a carbonated soft drink, but he was thrilled that she was so open to the idea of making America her home in her latter years.
“Happy Thanksgiving, Mother!”
“Happy Thanksgiving, Donald.”
Abby looked around her brand new apartment and sighed. She’d wanted it in much better shape for her mother’s visit. She’d been here three months now, but her new job at NCIS was keeping her crazy busy. The coffin couch she’d gotten as a college graduation present was sitting in the living room but that was it beside the TV. Her kitchen table was a card table with uncomfortable metal chairs, and Gloria would be bunking in the master bedroom since Abby hadn’t so much as picked up a futon for the spare.
She’d invited her new boss over for Thanksgiving, but he had something to do, he said. Apparently he’d just broken up with his wife or girlfriend or something. Something had happened in Europe. Ducky wouldn’t say much and neither would Stan Burley. Abby got the distinct impression that she had to earn her way in to everyone’s trust. They were friendly and all, but it wasn’t what she’d expected when she’d taken the job.
This was her first professional position as a forensic scientist and she was pretty stoked about it. She’d wanted to bring her mother to the Navy Yard yesterday and show her around, but work had kept her far too busy for that. Maybe tomorrow.
Gloria was watching one of the parades now, staring intently at the screen. There wasn’t closed captioning enabled for this channel yet. Abby stepped into her mother’s field of vision and began talking, accompanying herself with sign language. Her mother could hear but sounds were so muddled that sign language was a must.
“The turkey will be done in an hour. Then maybe we can play some cards.”
Gloria nodded, turning her attention back to the parade and Abby wandered around her new apartment, feeling a little lost. She didn’t have a social network here and she really truly needed one. It wasn’t like New Orleans where she knew almost everyone, or at least it seemed that way.
When someone knocked on her door, she ran to it, throwing it open. Her boss stood there, dressed in a black suit, looking amazing! From what she’d heard, he was a mess with the ladies, but Abby would love a shot with him.
“Hi...Gibbs.” He’d told her to not call him sir, but it was tough; he was so imposing and commanding.
“Abby,” he said, nodding and smiling. He never smiled at work and he had a gorgeous one. “Newest person on the team gets a Thanksgiving present. I brought you some of that soda you like.”
Gibbs did not seem like a presents guy, and she completely appreciated the effort and the fact that he’d noticed what she drank every day. She’d become addicted to the soda at college and it was a habit she was so not giving up now that she was a professional woman.
“Thanks!” she told him, grasping his forearm and pulling him inside. “Come meet my mother, Gibbs.”
Abby’s mother had turned and was standing expectantly, looking at Abby at the newcomer. “Gloria,” Abby began, signing the words as well. “This is my boss, Special Agent Gibbs.”
“Hello, Special Agent Gibbs.” Abby’s mother’s voice was indistinct, but she accompanied herself by signing. Abby opened her mouth to speak, but Gibbs put up a finger in warning and she stopped, watching him curiously.
“Hello, Mrs. Sciuto. I’m Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Abby’s boss.” he said, signing the words effortlessly and focusing his attention on Gloria.
“I didn’t know you signed,” Abby gasped out.
“Ya never asked,” he replied in that fashion she was learning was so him.
“Are you sure you can’t stay?” Abby asked hopefully. Gibbs was intimidating as could be, but to have another person signing would be so cool.
“Can’t, Abby,” he said and he looked so sad all of a sudden.
She started to pout and then pulled back. That was not professional woman behavior. “Mom is here all weekend if you want to come over,” she said, keeping it casual.
“I’ll see what I can do.” He leaned in and kissed her cheek, waving and signing a goodbye to her mother. “Happy Thanksgiving, Abby, Mrs. Sciuto.”
“Happy Thanksgiving, Gibbs!”
MTAC - NCIS Fic