|An Undefined Christmas
Author: LovelyLivy PM
You can love your best friend, and you can love your daughter. You can love your wife, and you can love the woman who puts sugar in your coffee. Falling, it can be of passionate aruguements, or stony silences, slowly crushing the heart. JIBBS, TIVA, ETC.Rated: Fiction T - English - Family/Angst - Tony D. & Ziva D. - Chapters: 3 - Words: 11,310 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 10 - Updated: 12-21-10 - Published: 12-19-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6570485
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Okay...this is the most intricate story I've ever, ever, written. It is also the only AU story. There will be lots of ships, but nothing that isn't heterosexual, and nothing that is going to cause too much of a protest from readers. Each oneshot takes place in New York City at Christmas time, and is either past, present, or future. PLEASE tell me if I'm making no sense. They will each be connected to one another in the end, and if I play this right it will leave you going 'WOAH!' There will be some smut (another first) and some, JIBBS, TIVA, and MCABBY in this story, I promise. Just be patient. I will give you a chapter each day until Christmas. Capeesh? Okay, please tell me if any of this doesn't make sense.
Love cannot be defined. There are simply too many types. You can love your best friend, and you can love your daughter. You can love your wife, and you can love the woman who puts sugar in your coffee at Starbucks. A relationship can be built carefully with time or sparked like a match to some dry hay. When it falls or stutters it can be a knock-down drag-out of tangled limbs and passion-filled arguments or of cold, stony silences and punctured hearts.
New York City is, truly, the center of the universe. The little moments with people passing on the street, the well-mannered business men's quiet but firm words, and chatty, over zealous tourists, it is never a quiet place. Different ethnic backgrounds, pasts, hopes, dreams, stories to tell. Everyone has a different story. So many people go there, live there. The strange thing? All are connected in some way.
Christmas is near, and people swarm.
A man and woman walk, hand in hand, though the powdery snow, content with life. The sidewalk has not been treaded though just yet, the fall too recent. And it is cold.
"What did Kel say she wanted for Christmas?" Jethro Gibbs asks his wife, waiting for the chew-out he's about to get. Her head turns quickly, soft red locks whipping against her face as wind blows hard. She looks into his blue eyes in pure disbelief.
"You haven't gotten her anything yet?" He looks a bit guilty, only spurring her on. Her husband had been working far too much overtime for Shannon's liking. She stopped walking, and so did he.
"Christmas is ten days away! Why have you procrastinated like this? Everything will be gone from the stores and Kel really wanted that dollhouse! And I thought you'd gotten it already so I haven't even-"
Her words were silenced when he pulled her close to him, ending any conversation as his warm breath came out in puffs against her slightly-reddened cheeks. Anger was still apparent, though, as she crossed her arms to her body and refused to meet his eyes. He tried to soothe the situation as much as he could.
"Hey, hey, let's not fight right now, okay? The fort isn't occupied by a rambunctious eight year old at the moment and this is the first night we've gotten to be alone, together, in a long time. Please, Shan? I'll get up as soon as the stores open tomorrow and go try and find a dollhouse suited for a princess, okay?" The words were soft and sweetly whispered in her ear. And so unhelpful to her reasoning for being upset with him.
"Fine. Just, please, don't do anything like this again? It makes me really stressed out when I feel like you haven't helped out at all."
"I promise. Now let's get home before we freeze our damn toes off."
She readily agreed and together they hurried past shops and vendors, hoping the nights weather did not get any worse than it already was.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs felt that something was wrong the second they got into the elevator of their building. It was like a pin pricking the lining of his stomach, and with each step towards the door of their home, the nervousness grew worse. Shannon noticed.
"Is something wrong, Jethro?" Her voice held a tremor of worry, obviously confused by her husband's anxiety. His anxiousness made her anxious.
"No...just...I must've eaten something bad for lunch..."
"I told you to stop taking leftovers to work-" The words were said as she approached the door, and were abruptly cut-off as she found it open.
Someone had been in their apartment while they were gone.
"Jethro." The word was spoken tightly, and whispered. It held fear. There had been something in the newspaper about a burglar, but there were just so many nowadays...
He pushed her aside roughly, instinctual male dominance kicking in.
"Get behind me," he said lowly. She complied, resting a hand on his back, slightly shaken by the dangerous edge his tone carried. The baseball bat sat by the front door, she knew.
He pushed open the door quickly and made a grab for the baseball bat, but the assailant was ready, as he stood not two feet from where the couple stood in the threshold.
A sleek black gun in hand.
He said nothing. They said nothing. The only sound was Shannon's scream as four booming gunshots that rang though the cold, crisp air. Ringing finality.
She fell to the floor as blood began to pool on the peach-colored carpet.
"Never doubt a girl in leather, I said."
Men laugh and guffaw at his jokes. At his over-priced shoes. At his random movie references. His mother always said he'd make a great salesman.
Turns out he made a great businessman.
They talk numbers. They talk profits from dirty deals. They talk women, even though everyone at the table besides himself has a wedding ring occupying their left hand. There is no right in their discussions. And he accepts this lifestyle.
Illegal cigars are smoked. Too expensive alcohol gone through like water. He briefly wanders if these men have children at home, who look up to them, who expect nothing but good things to come from them. The children who would most likely be crushed if they saw the money their father's were tucking in the women's cheap lingerie.
He does what he does for the money. He is a greedy man, he'll admit. Too many women have hearts shattered by him. But it is fair, he concedes, as his own was torn apart in so many places there was barely any left to salvage. Life is unfair, and revenge can be the sweetest retribution.
A woman approaches him now, blond, beautiful. All natural, he guesses.
She had been like that.
This woman who looks barely twenty smiles teasingly, and he can't help but wander if this girl does it for the thrill. Does she have a family? A home?
He certainly does not.
She wears a red, white, and green, striped, number, obviously paid for with her own money. Or perhaps she made it herself. He can't decide. The significance of the colors strikes him suddenly, and he realizes it is only a mere week until Christmas. Almost a year since...he takes a large gulp of his too strong alcohol, savoring the burn as its cascades down the back of his throat.
Her hips sway as she walks towards him, brushing against him coyly. He fleetingly imagines what that festive attire would look like on the floor of his flat. The enticing pale skin of her torso almost too tempting. It's been awhile since he's taken someone home.
Perhaps she is the one.
In a quick, sudden, movement, he reaches for his back pocket, halting her movements in time with the rich bass playing in the background of the club. He searches and finds what he's looking for, meeting her eyes with a sort of detached look as he tucks five hundred-dollar bills into the front seem of her negligee. A black business card is tucked with them.
She knows what he means. And with grace (grace she had), the girl leans in and sways her hips a bit more to the beat. "I'm Paula."
It's a husky whisper. Not at all like her innocent, clean voice. This snaps him from his alcohol induced reverie. He stands so quickly from his chair that he knocks her to the ground, and bouncers rush quickly to remove him from the club. He beats them to the task.
He lays a few more hundreds on the table and ignores the shouts of his confused coworkers.
"DiNozzo! Where are you going?"
He says nothing as he walks swiftly from the club.
Abigail Scutio admired the beauty of life. Since she was a young girl she'd felt it her duty to help others, whether it was as a shoulder to cry on or a few extra dollars. She was a true giver.
And still, the most giving people can be the loneliest. They can seldom be repaid. So she will volunteer at numerous homeless shelters, donate to lots of charities, and never allow a door to go un-held-open. But she will come home to an empty bed each night.
She decides this is unhealthy, and takes up a hobby. Photography, she d decides. She'd always loved taking pictures. After she begins taking classes she cannot seem to stop.
She still volunteers, gives, and holds doors open, but now she has a camera around her neck.
Abby loves it. Catching moments with your bare hands and holding them in a quarter of an once. Where ever she goes, you will hear the click of a camera.
The man who always seems to be thinking. The woman who tends to her flower garden as the sun rises. A little girl playing with chalk on her front doorstep. She catches it all.
The huge Christmas tree currently standing in Times Square was her favorite.
But sometimes the dark haired woman gets lonely again. Catching a man and woman holding hands. A couple embracing. A mother cooing her infant.
And each night she goes home alone, to cold bed sheets.
Coffee was never a good sign.
The man who ran the shop Michelle worked in was cranky, and lackadaisical. It was the holiday season, meaning too many orders and not enough abused workers. The fact he reproduced not six months ago not helping matters much.
Her sister had always said she was not good with kids. When her little cousin, Susan, was born, she, the oldest, was meant to babysit her and the other children as they grew. And Michelle's younger sister, Anna, was usually the one doing most of it.
Michelle just made kids cry. She could not fix her disposition, or ignore it. No, the growing bump that occupied most of her small torso was a plain fact and would never go ignored.
If only they had a stop button, she mused. Something that could allow her to make them cease all crying instantly. What would she do when her unborn child was here?
The thoughts gave her a pounding migraine, as did the sickening smell of burnt coffee. She should get used to it, though, she knew.
Plenty more to come.
"So, dear, what have you done this week?"
"Don't call me dear."
Her voice is colored with a bitter edge too mature for her young body. No thirteen year-old should be that bitter. But then again, no thirteen year old should go through what she has gone through.
"Ah, so...we've had a bit of a down cast this week, eh? It's okay, we all have our times."
Silence envelopes the small, brightly furnished room. The man with a heavy accent continues despite it. His eyebrows furrow.
"When you came to counseling you were very quiet...didn't want to talk about the shoo-"
"Look, I've just been thinking a lot. You said if I ever wanted to take a break from seeing you'd that would be okay. I'm taking my hiatus. Can we just resume after the holidays? I'm fine, really I just...I need some time to get my thoughts together."
Her expression is too mature again, now. She speaks with absolute conviction, leaving no room for the psychiatrist to protest. He attempts to make things better in the only way he knows he can.
"You do understand that you cannot run from this? Emotion. It will chase you like a dog after fresh meat until you will not have the strength or the will power to run anymore. I think it is time to stop running."
"Running? I'm not running from anything. Listen, it's been a couple of years...It's just the holidays. It reminds me of it..." The girl trails off, rubbing a thumb across her forehead.
"Then it's trigger. We need to work through these. And you ignoring it...Is it your father? Has he been drinking again? I understand that he has his issues but if you are allowing them to effect yourself I will be forced to-"
"To what? You can't keep us apart! And no! It's not him or my stupid grades or that stupid accident. It is the fact that I come in hear every week and listen to you yap on and on about feelings and experiences like some fucking know-it-all! You don't know what I've been through! You don't know anything about me! All you know is what's on that piece of paper my dad filled out when we first came here three years ago. You're not my grandfather! You're not my friend! And I am sick and tired of having to act like I forget. I'll never forget her!"
She begins to cry. Shaking sobs that wrack through her entire body and make her clutch the plush chair for dear life. Her fingers are too cold. Dr. Ducky does not meet her eyes, and if she looked a tad bit more closer she could see the sheen film of tears in them.
She lets out a breath. "I'm going home."
And with that she gets up, and promptly runs away from her problems.