I haven't forgotten this story. I just wanted to write the whole thing before I posted any more. I am still working on the last two Presents chapters. Any ideas what Callen and Nell would get Hetty? Or each other? Anyway, here is the first one. I hope you enjoy it.
Christmas dawned bright and cold in Washington DC. Abby Schutio jumped out of bed and raced to the tree. This year she was spending it with the Nuns, like she did every second Christmas since starting at NCIS. As she entered the room, it was filled with young children already including orphans, runaways and street kids. Young single mothers, abused and others in need of safety from the horrors of home life watched as the children looked at the pile of gifts under the fifteen foot high tree decorated in hundreds of lights and decorations.
Abby looked at them for a moment then went back to her room and got her camera. She knew the stories of many of them and knew that many wouldn't have any photos of things like Christmas, so she decided to take as many pictures as she could. She got dressed and started to take photos of the children and their mothers. If the child was alone, she got them and their friends together. When the Nuns came down, more photos were taken.
The sisters knew how hard it was for many of them there and knew that Abby's photos would help. After breakfast and morning worship, the Matron sat in a chair next to the tree and picked a present out. She called out the name and blessed the child as they came forward to receive their gift.
Abby stood to one side and got a photo of every child as they got their gift. All the mothers also got one and Abby was glad she was able to get photos of all of them. After the distribution of the gifts, she got photos of some of the reactions as they opened their presents. The look of joy, happiness and surprise that filled the faces and eyes of everyone there brought tears to her eyes. She was so pleased that she was able to help. Every year she would go around the office and get money from everyone there in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The money went to gifts for the kids and adults that took shelter at the Abby during the Christmas period.
Just after Christmas lunch, Gibbs showed up with DiNozzo, McGee and Ziva in tow, each of them carrying a box filled with wooden toys that Gibbs had made during the year. He took over the role of Santa and handed them out to all the kids. Having been told by Abby of an expectant mother, he had also made a rocking crib. Expertly crafted, he handed the crib over to the shocked and grateful mother. She'd had her baby boy just a week before and placed him in it. After staying just long enough for the nuns to say thank you, the NCIS team left, to continue Christmas with their family and friends. Abby followed shortly after, saying that she wanted to print the photos and that she would bring them around the next day. She headed home, showered, changed and headed to Gibbs place for Christmas dinner.
Abby entered his house and smelt the turkey as she opened the door. She managed to get her gifts inside and closed the door. G. Callen had gotten her a couple of things when he was in Australia recently and had wrapped them in Xmas paper, forcing her to wait. She had seen that Gibbs had also gotten gifts from Callen.
"Gibbs!" She called out as she placed her gifts under the tree. She had gotten Tony, Tim and Ziva gifts as well, however, she had given them to them the day before when they left the office. Gibbs' she placed under the tree.
"Basement Abby, be there shortly. Can you check on the turkey please?"
After saying that she would, Abby went into his kitchen. Abby had been coming to Gibbs for Christmas pretty much since she had started at NCIS. She opened the oven door and shook her head. "How am I supposed to get this out when it probably weighs as much as I do?" She called out after seeing the size of the bird that Gibbs had inside.
"I only asked you to check on it, not pull it out." He said, sneaking up on her.
Abby jumped and hit him as she spun around. "Gibbs!" she yelled. "I though you agreed not to do that sneaking up on me thing on Christmas."
"Training, Abby, can't just turn it off." Gibbs shrugged and Abby knew that it would be the closest thing to an apology she would get.
After dinner they sat next to the tree and opened their gifts. Abby had gotten Gibbs a book on wooden toys from the eighteen to nineteen hundreds. Gibbs had managed to procure a set of early 20th century roller blades in really good condition. He made her promise not to wear them at work.
Then Abby opened one of the gifts from Callen. It was a box from the knocking she had done on it. She knew she could have done an x-ray but she liked the mystery to Christmas gifts. She pulled the wrapping off and revealed a toy wombat, a marsupial native to Australia. She pulled it out of the box and gave it a squeeze to break it in, only to have it fart. Gibbs' head snapped around and looked at her funny. Her face lit up like a neon light and did it again. They smiled then as they thought back to the last time Callen had given her something similar.
It was the tail end of 2000 when Callen and Gibbs had returned home. They had spent several weeks in the African continent, relying on each other and trusting the other to have their back. For Callen, it was only the second time that anyone had ever cared for him so much. He was with the DEA when NCIS requested him. The mission required that he and Gibbs go to Africa. They had worked together in the past and had worked well. Gibbs had earned Callen's trust the first time several years before by pulling him from a burning car and not leaving him behind after. This trip to Africa had reinforced that.
As Callen used the crutches to enter the offices of NCIS, the Goth girl that ruled the forensic lab rushed toward them shouting. "Gibbs, Gibbs, Gibbs!" She fiercely hugged him as she scolded him for disappearing on her like he had. Gibbs promised to try and not do it again. He looked over Abby's shoulder as Callen limped past him and headed to his desk. The young man had been hit with some shrapnel from an IED, after shouting a warning to Gibbs then running a hundred yards and pushing him back around a corner. Now, with the danger behind them, he looked worse than ever; head down, shoulders slumped and the injured foot almost sliding on the ground with each step. As Callen sat in his chair, the one now occupied by DiNozzo, Gibbs saw the pain and weariness in his face. He crossed his arms and laid his head down on the desk.
Abby had seen him watching Callen and her heart went out to him. Gibbs had told her little about the man, only what he had been able to read from the highly redacted files and what he had observed. She knew that he was an orphan and had no idea who he was. From what Gibbs had told her, he felt he was never wanted, by anyone; as a child and even now as an adult. She stood next to Gibbs and could hear the cogs turning in his head. Before he could say anything, she asked "Where's he staying for Christmas?"
It only took Gibbs a second to think about it. "With me." He knew that the younger man moved constantly.
He never had a car, so Gibbs would pick him up during the few months it took to put together the information for the mission. After a few days, Gibbs had commented rather harshly that he needed to pick a place. Ever since then, he had picked Callen up at a bakery. At first he had thought it meant that Callen had found a place to live. But one week, Gibbs had followed him every day. Most times he soon lost him, the man's natural instincts to cover his tracks made it almost impossible to tail him. But on the rare occasion Gibbs was able to keep him in sight, he followed him to several motels and flop houses.
Gibbs iron heart had cracked a little as he realised that Callen had stopped giving him his address after he had growled at him. He thought back to the files about the places he had stayed at as a child and Gibbs realised that Callen viewed him the same as the foster places he stayed at, non-caring. Gibbs discovered that Callen giving him the addresses was his way of showing Gibbs that he trusted him, just that little bit and Gibbs had broken it.
The next day, Gibbs waited for Callen to leave his new place. As the younger man recognised that Gibbs had followed him, Gibbs told him that he was ok with picking him up where ever he was staying. It took Callen a while to trust him again but he did as Gibbs continued to pick him up.
Gibbs went over to Callen and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder after softly calling out to him. "Callen, your gear still in my trunk?" He asked.
Callen sat up quickly as Gibbs talked. "Uh, yeah." He said as he woke. He had been asleep as soon as his head hit the desk.
"Good, you're spending Christmas with me." Gibbs left no room for argument as he turned to his desk. He looked at the man's reflection in one of the monitors that he used and saw the look of surprise followed by worry cross his face.
"I'm good, thanks Gibbs." He said.
"Callen, you're spending Christmas with me tonight and tomorrow. Scratch that, make it over the holiday period, until that leg heals. You're going to have a warm safe place to stay and a few decent meals. The last few weeks have been hard and my place is large enough, so no argument." He looked at the younger man with a glare.
"Ok." Callen said. Gibbs could see that he was too tired to argue.
Abby had watched from near the elevator and waited until the two men joined her. Gibbs nodded and Abby smiled as he had been successful in getting Callen to come to his place. She drove her own car to Gibbs place and after a quick stop to get a change of clothes, arrived a short time after Gibbs and Callen. She opened the door and as she entered the living room, found herself pinned to the wall by Callen. His eyes were wide and he was holding a gun to her head. She was trying not to panic as she could see that Callen's eyes weren't registering her.
"G! Put the gun down. It's alright, son." Gibbs suddenly shouted. He entered the room after hearing the scuffle from the basement. He saw Callen holding the gun and pinning Abby to the wall. He had told Callen to make himself at home while he went to the basement to get a couple of drinks. Callen had dropped to the couch and before Gibbs had even left the room he was asleep. The painkillers and exhaustion catching up with him. Gibbs got closer and called to him again, "G, it's ok, it's Abby from work." He sighed with relief as he slowly lowered the weapon. Gibbs mentally cursed himself. He had forgotten that G had done a similar thing to him while they were in Africa.
"Abby, I'm so sorry!" Callen had said as he lowered the gun. Abby watched as his shoulders drooped and his breathing evened out.
"It's ok, Callen." Abby said as she got her breath back. "I didn't get hurt." She gently placed a hand on his shoulder, then when he didn't pull away, she pulled him into a hug.
After dinner that night, Abby handed him a small box in Christmas wrapping. Callen had looked at her oddly before opening the box. It contained a key on a skull and cross bones key chain.
"It's a key to my place if you find yourself without somewhere to sleep and Gibbs isn't here. You're welcome anytime." She said. Abby could see the tears in his eyes and asked "G? Everything alright?" She was worried that she had upset him.
"Yeah." He hurriedly wiped his eyes and continued "It's been a long time since anyone's given me a key to their place. Thank you Abby." He hugged her and Abby could feel him shaking with silent sobs and hugged him harder. She was rubbing circles in his back when Gibbs entered the room. Abby quickly signed what had happened, he nodded and returned to the kitchen. After a few moments, Callen got up and limped over to his bag. He pulled out a box in Xmas paper and handed it to her. She quickly tore it open and pulled out the Hippo toy.
"Oh, G, its beautiful!" She squealed and gave it a hug, causing it to fart. "What the…?" She asked as she heard Callen chuckle. She looked over and saw a genuine smile on his face. He is so HOT! She thought as his face lit up.
"I thought you might like him." He said. "He's different but cool, like you."
"Thank you G. Callen." She said, making sure that he knew she was serious.
"You're welcome Abby Scuito." He replied and allowed her to hug him again.
Gibbs had watched from his kitchen door and smiled as the two younger people hugged. He was pleased that Abby had given Callen a key to her place, should he need it.
Gibbs and Abby smiled at the memory of Bert coming into their lives. Abby then opened the other gift from Callen. It was a small box and inside was a key on a skull and crossbones key chain. A note was under it. "Should you find yourself in LA." Below it was his address. Abby smiled again and quickly went to attach it to her other keys.
Gibbs' lips twitched as he watched Abby, happy that his adopted son had given Abby a key. Gibbs didn't do gifts, however, if someone saw fit to give him one, who was he to argue. Two had appeared on his workbench in the basement the morning Callen and Nell had left. He had left them there until tonight. The first one was rather heavy and once Gibbs had opened it, he saw why.
It contained a set of wooden handled woodworking tools. Each handle was a different colour depending on the wood. Callen had written a note, explaining what each one was. Each was unique to Australia. Now Gibbs never cried, but he did tear up as he thought of the thoughtfulness of the gift. Sure, people got him tools as gifts, but rarely did anyone combine both his love of the tools and the wood. He ran a hand over the tools as he set them down and picked up the envelope.
It contained a shipping manifest. It was sitting in a container at a pier on the Potamic, and according to the docket, held several pieces of Australian timber. The same timber that the tools had been made from.
Gibbs now let the tears fall unstopped. He felt Abby's arms go round his shoulders and he let her hug him.
A/N: And there we go. I got the feeling from the original crossover that Gibbs cared a great deal about Callen. The same thing when Abby came to them. I hope this does justice to that and I hope it fits into the time line.