A/N: Two quick things to say. One: A number of people have been slowly requesting a new Lily fic and this is a mix of two different ideas. Two: I haven't actually finished this yet - each chapter has a different day but I am trapped in block, so every prod to finish would be appreciated. Hope you enjoy!
Deck the Halls
Chapter 1: Dec 22
It was three days before Christmas and the Navy Yard had definitely been touched by the festive spirit. A huge Christmas tree stood in the lobby, weighed down with countless decorations hand-made by the children of NCIS agents during a craft-making day a certain Goth had organized. Sparkling fairy lights adorned every wall, tinsel seemed to be everywhere, and someone had persuaded the Director that a few sprigs of mistletoe were essential.
Or, more likely, bribed her with a combination of coffee, bourbon and Belgian chocolates.
There was a persistent rumor that the Goth scientist was planning to cover every surface with fake snow one night. She had already encouraged about half the agents to wear various Santa hats while a pair of antlers adorned her own head. Everyone seemed to have found red and green sweaters to wear to work, not to mention the soft CD of carols that played in the background.
Anthony DiNozzo was enjoying the atmosphere. For once, Christmas was something to be celebrated.
It helped that el jefe looked less threatening every year. With two almost-three year old twins to deal with this year, both mischievous little toddlers, he was too run off his feet to worry about his team. Gibbs wanted Christmas to be perfect for his children, which meant he spent more time worrying about presents than what his team were up to.
The Director was too busy to notice Gibbs' lack of attention. She was trying to take a week off over the holiday season to be with her family, which meant she had to sort out everything possible and simply cross her fingers. While the agency could run itself for the few days between Christmas and the New Year, there was no knowing if she would be called back to deal with something urgent – something she was desperate to avoid.
Tony himself wasn't sure what he was doing for the holiday, only that it would involve Ziva in some way. His lover would never forgive him if he stayed at work claiming overtime – she had threatened castration this year. And anyway, this time of year was meant to be about family. Ziva was his only family, in a way.
And the rest of the team.
He did not know what McGee and Abby planned to do, only that they had been giggling over presents. Sooner or later, Tony knew they would get together and Rule Twelve would be well and truly smashed to little pieces.
As if the boss being engaged to Jenny hadn't already done that. At least Gibbs was not a hypocrite and didn't mind any more, as long as they kept it out of the office as much as possible.
Which Abby and himself were fairly sure el jefe wasn't and were trying to catch him in the act.
He smiled as he looked around at the rest of the team. Every year they seemed to become closer than before, however impossible he thought it was. And as none of them had concrete plans for Christmas, perhaps this year they could spend it together, like the family they were.
Ziva David stared at her computer screen in a state of shock. Was this email for real?
She thought back over her previous thought. Did it make sense? Her Americanisms still needed some work, but dating Tony had taught her more than a few. Perhaps she should ask him?
Glancing over at his desk, she noticed he was staring at his computer screen too. On second thoughts, the email seemed more genuine. Presumably everyone on 'Team Gibbs' had received the same message.
I'm back in the country for a little while and seem to have found myself in a rather large house. Not on purpose, I hasten to add, but it seems a little empty. I'm pretty sure none of you have definite plans so I'm inviting you up for a short while.
I can promise alcohol, chocolate and festivities. And I demand to see my nieces while I'm (vaguely) in town.
Jenny knows where to find me, although I suggest you come sooner rather than later – we're due snow any day.
Hope you haven't managed to lose any limbs since I last saw you,
Ziva began to smile softly. Being around Lily was always amusing. Usually because her life was so chaotic. Still, she had a knack of keeping everyone on their toes, mainly because of her slight obsession with explosives. At least she couldn't misbehave with her son around.
Or was it sons?
The last time any of them had seen Lily, to her knowledge anyway, the redhead had been pregnant. Timing wise, she had to have had the baby by now, unless she was a strange creature who gestated her young for sixteen months.
Although Gibbs would certainly not be surprised if that was the case. He seemed to know her better than anyone, bar Jenny.
But Ziva could not understand how none of them had managed to stay in touch with the ex-CIA agent. Perhaps because she had followed through with her decision and retired from her job, disappearing without a trace and contacting no one. Except presumably Jenny because the two of them were incredibly close.
She smiled again as she mused on the possibility of meeting the new child. Boy or girl? Jenny and Gibbs had two twin girls, so another girl could have their old clothes. On the other hand, Lily already had a boy, Jasper, and might have preferred a little brother for him.
Deciding that replying and asking would only lead to Lily ignoring her, she made a mental note to ask Jenny instead. The Director had to know. And she would have told Gibbs as well…
"Are we going to this thing?" Tony asked, breaking the temporary silence.
"It would be fun," Ziva suggested.
"She sent it to Abby," McGee pointed out. "She'll drag us along if she has to."
"What thing?" Gibbs demanded.
Ziva winced. One of these days, McGee was going to have to teach him to use his email.
"Lily's invited us for Christmas," Tony told their boss. "She's offering alcohol; I'm sure she'll have bourbon somewhere. And we have to ask Jenny where she is."
Gibbs did not even glance at his computer. He rose from his chair and made his way up the stairs.
"Twenty bucks says they'll be having more than a conversation up there," Tony grinned.
Ziva threw a paperclip at him, however much she silently agreed.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs decided that agreeing to have Abby in his car, supposedly to keep his baby girls entertained, had been a bad idea.
He adored the Goth, he really did. But after a little too much Caf-Pow and several hours stuck in a car between two identical miniature versions of his nemesis, she had gone slightly hyper. And Jenny was finding the whole thing amusing from her position riding shotgun.
He should have demanded she drove to the middle of nowhere.
Civilization had disappeared about an hour ago. Jenny somehow knew the directions by heart – he was starting to suspect she had been here before. Except he knew better; she would have told him. Instead, he had come to the conclusion it was a twin homing beacon.
Abby was enjoying herself in the back seat, getting the twins involved in a rousing chorus of 'We're all going on a summer holiday'. He didn't want to remind her it was December and freezing, while the sky looked as though an imminent blizzard was coming. Nor did he think it would stop the terrible twosome from getting so excited.
"Not far now," Jenny assured him.
He glanced in his rear view mirror to check DiNozzo was still in sight. Or rather the headlights were. Thinking back, it would have made more sense for Ziva to drive. But Tony had done an admirable job keeping up with him.
Finally he saw the outline of a house. Pulling up, he smiled at the squeals from the backseat. Maybe he'd let Abby ride with him on the way back.
Even covered in darkness, he could tell Lily hadn't been joking about a large house. Ignoring the enigma of how she had ended up with it in the first place, he guessed there was easily enough room for a bedroom apiece, even if he and Jenny weren't sharing.
From the look of things, there was also a disturbingly large garden. His kids weren't going outside unsupervised then.
Deciding that a bit of snow would liven the place up a bit, he climbed out of the car and set about the challenge of freeing Camilla, who had now changed her mind and wanted to stay in the car. Jenny on the other hand managed to pull Rose into her arms in seconds.
Tony's car screeched to a halt and everyone began to emerge from there as well. It took them a while to gather their belongings before they set off to the big door at the front of the house.
His team automatically allowed him to knock, even with Camilla in his arms; putting her down on the floor outside was asking for trouble. He waited a few minutes and knocked again.
If Lily wasn't going to answer the door, he was tempted to break a window instead. Just as he was about to rely an order, the wooden door creaked open and a tiny figure appeared.
Or not so tiny. Jasper had grown since they'd last seen him. The boy had a huge smile on his face and was carrying another child. A boy.
"Merry Christmas!" he greeted them.