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Family Dynamics

by: BuffyAngel68 (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 006 Word Count: 9402
Rating: ADULT
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo, Abby Sciuto, Timothy McGee, Ensemble
Category(ies): Alternate Universe, Angst/Drama, Episode Related, First Time, Friendship, Humor, Hurt/Comfort, Romance
Pairing(s): Gibbs/DiNozzo, Abby/McGee, Tony/McGee
Episode(s): 5-18 Judgment Day
Summary: The team is given a unique opportunity while the regime change takes place. What they learn about each other will powerfully change them as well...

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

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2

Family Dynamics 1/?

-------------------------

THREE DAYS LATER:

When he arrived at the departure lounge, Gibbs found five of the others already waiting for him. Doing a quick survey, he realized they were only missing Abby. Leaving his bags, he strode casually over to join Tony at the enormous windows and the younger man half-turned to greet him with a light smile.

"Boss. You got the same e-mail I guess."

"Yeah." Gibbs responded quietly. "Gate number, time to be here... nothing else."

"Same one, alright. You think we're goin' commercial or is that for us?" he asked, pointing at the private jet waiting below.

"Hope it's the second choice."

"Hope you're right. Much nicer than being packed in with strangers. That's the last thing I wanna deal with..."

"None of us need it. Seen Abby?"

"Shopping. She swore she'd only be ten or fifteen minutes... but this *is* Abby we're talking about."

Just then the young woman in question strode into the lounge carrying three small bags. Dropping into one of the plastic chairs, she stowed the purchases in one of her carry-on bags, zipping and re-locking it deftly. His heart twisting at the somber expression on Abby's normally jubilant face, Tony left Gibbs' side and walked over to where she sat, crouching in front of her. Stroking her hair gently, he tried to lighten her mood.

"Hey. Shopping not the thrill it once was?"

Instead of smiling, Abby leaned forward and threw her arms around Tony's shoulders, holding on tightly. He shifted to his knees and embraced her in return. "It's gonna be okay, Abs. Even if this wasn't our idea, I think it'll do us a lotta good. Give it a chance, huh?"

"You need this more than the rest of us. All you've been through..."

"Nah. I'm tough, you know that. I don't let it get to me." He countered, pulling back a little. The sad smile she wore told him exactly what she knew: tough he might be, but his second statement was a blatant lie. She was on the verge of calling him on it when a tall man in a dark uniform and pilot's cap entered the lounge. Gibbs instantly moved between him and the others, vaguely pleased when the newcomer took the move completely in stride.

"Morning. This is the group from NCIS?"

"It is. Senior Agent Jethro Gibbs."

"Darren Gardner. Nice to meet you. If you and your people will grab your things and follow me..."

Nodding, Gibbs turned back to the others.

"On your feet, people. Time to go."

Following the two men, the rest trekked slowly out to and across the tarmac, left their larger bags to be loaded into the cargo hold and hauled themselves and their carry-on up the short staircase and into the plane. They all clustered around the doorway for a few moments, studying the layout, then began to choose seating. To everyone's surprise, once her gear had been safely stowed, Ziva approached the section where Abby had just claimed a place and was welcomed with a weary smile.

"You would not mind?" Ziva asked. The hesitancy in her voice was so unusual Abby frowned slightly.

"No. Why?"

"You and I are very different. We have so little in common... I suppose I've been wary of making an effort to truly get to know you. It is a poor excuse, I know... but the best I have. After all this time, I would not blame you if..."

"Ziva. Sit."

Cautiously, the other woman complied.

"Thank you. I'm sorry..."

"Oh no, that's my line. If we're not friends... it's partly my fault too. I never really tried. I've always understood, you know. At least... I think I have. The place you grew up, what you've had to do to survive in the Mossad... just walking in and trusting new people isn't something you could do."

"I trust you now... all of you."

"So maybe with all this time they gave us..."

"Yes. Yes, absolutely. We will shop, eat, talk... we will have fun."

Abby brightened and giggled enthusiastically.

"We *so* will! You just wait 'till you try your first Caf-Pow..."

"What if they do not have them wherever it is we're going?"

"No problem. At this point I'm fifty-fifty blood and caffeine. I'm like this super-focused bloodhound who only looks for big red cups..."

-------------------

Settled into a seat in the rear of the cabin, Tony had just reached for the headphones, intending to sink into music and mindlessness for a while, when a quiet cough and a sense of someone close by made him look up.

"Ducky."

"If you wouldn't object, dear boy... I'm feeling much the same as you seem to be."

"What about Palmer?"

"He and Timothy have enough in common to keep them occupied for hours yet, I think. Unfortunately, being immersed in their conversation isn't at all what I crave at the moment."

"I was trying for a little peace and quiet myself. If you want it... the seat's all yours." Tony offered, patting the space next to him.

"Thank you." Ducky responded, sinking gratefully into the soft leather and opening the book he was carrying to the page he'd marked with a thin strip of lace that was just beginning to fray at the edges. Despite his assertion of a moment before, Tony couldn't help but speak up once more, halting his fingers just short of actually touching the bookmark Ducky had laid across the wooden arm that separated their seats.

"I'm so sorry, Ducky..."

"No, no. What is it you needed?"

"This... it's handmade. Old, too..."

"Why yes... yes it is. Do you know something about tatting?"

"Hmm? No... not really. My, uh... my mother had some pieces identical to this... the pattern, the colors, they're all the same."

"Fascinating..."

"Why?" Tony replied, finally tearing his gaze away and bringing it up to meet Ducky's intensely curious one.

"Because *my* mother made this. It was many years ago, of course. You know... I used to go with her occasionally when she made trips to deliver her hand-work to friends and others who'd requested her to make them something. It's entirely possible I encountered you when you were quite young."

"That is so weird..."

"It is indeed. Once I have time to think, I'm sure the memory will come back to me..."

"Oh. Right. Sorry again. I'll let you get back to your book..."

"And you your music."

"Yeah. Hey, when you remember... I mean, once we get there and unpack and everything..."

"... you'll hear all the details I can dredge up."

"Cool."

Choosing a music channel and adjusting the headphones to suit him, Tony exchanged smiles with his friend before closing his eyes and letting his head drop back against the seat.

------------------------

"Jimmy, c'mon. You're not gonna ask me again, are you?"

"Sorry. I just don't get it."

"I told you why. You're the one I know the least about. I figured we should talk."

"That's not all. There's something you're not telling me. Oh, God... am I dying too?"

"No! I just... I know I wasn't exactly fair to you in my books. I have a lot to make up for."

"No way, I got over being mad about that a long time ago."

"I haven't gotten over doing it. I don't really have a decent excuse. They say you should write what you know... and you guys are what I knew. I screwed up your character so bad because I had no clue what you're actually like. I want to change that now... if you'll give me a second chance."

"Well, yeah... of course. As if I'd give up an offer to spend time with a famous writer."

Tim chuckled.

"I'm not famous. Not yet."

"But you'd like to be?"

"I don't know. There are as many downsides as upsides to it. Pressure to make the next story better, more exciting... never having any time that's really your own... God, and learning to recover from the critics. That was the hardest thing. The good stuff almost outweighs all that, though. Knowing you did it right and people like what you've put out there... I can't get enough of that."

"Wow. Tell me more."

"Only if you give as good as I do."

"Yeah. Gladly..."

--------------------

Still standing at the front of the plane, Gibbs released an almost silent breath of relief. Satisfied that his team were as content as they were going to get for the immediate future, he finally chose a seat of his own and opened up a magazine, focusing intently on the article in front of him, determined to push the events of the past few weeks completely from his mind.

-------------------------------

TBC....

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