Still dont own NCIS or anything pertaining to it...darn it all.

What if the basement wasn't always a place to build boats?

Once upon a time, not too long ago, there lived a family by the name of Gibbs. Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Shannon Gibbs and Kelly Gibbs all lived quite happily in their two story house with its partially fenced backyard. The upper story housed the bedrooms and a guest bathroom, while the ground floor housed the kitchen, living room and dining room.

It was the basement however that intrigued most people. On the one side of the basement was a workroom where Jethro (only my dad calls me Leroy) handcrafted beautiful works of art out of wood. He only worked on them when he was at home on leave, as he was a fully dedicated Marine and then he only worked while Shannon and Kelly would be sleeping.

The other side of the basement housed the finished products. Slowly, year by year, more items appeared on the finished side of the basement. A table and chairs, a rocking horse, several cabinets and even a cedar chest found their way into what Kelly called Daddy's Projects.

One day while on leave, Jethro is hosing down the sidewalks after mowing and a little black kitten stalks its way across the yard, chasing after a bird that flies higher than the little cat can climb. The cat doesn't stop and Jethro watches as the cat climbs the nearest tree, and then scampers across the roof of his garage. Knowing that most cats have a fear of heights, Jethro is prepared to climb up and bring the kitten down, but the little guy surprises him by jumping across to the roof of his house and running across the shingles.

Jethro shakes his head at the kitten's bravery and makes a mental note to tell Shannon and Kelly not to let the kitten in the house. They don't need a stray animal that might have fleas and God only knows what other diseases to try and worm its way into their lives. As he thinks about the kitten, he realizes that the kitten had a collar around its neck so apparently it did belong to someone in the neighborhood.

Dismissing the kitten from his mind, Jethro went about his yard work, not noticing a pair of small green eyes watching him from a tree. The kitten waits until Jethro is ready to enter the house before he starts crying. Jethro is surprised to hear the kitten's cry as he'd thought the small creature had left the yard already. He looks up into the tree and sees a pair of bright green eyes staring back at him.

"You ready to come down from there?"

"Meow."

"Alright, but don't think that you're getting into the house. You already belong to someone else and they're probably missing you." He gently puts a hand on the scruff of the kitten's neck and pulls the cat out of the tree. A rough pink tongue comes out and licks his hand in appreciation and he laughs at the feeling. He sets the kitten outside the fence and motions for it to leave.

The next day, the wind is picking up and once again the kitten is in the backyard. Shannon and Kelly are doing dishes after lunch and see the animal playing with the few leaves that have fallen and laugh at its antics.

"Daddy, come see the kitten, it's playing with leaves."

"Kel, don't let that animal in the house, you hear me? We don't need cat hair getting all over the furniture, or worse in my varnishes."

"Yes, Daddy."

"Shan, that goes for you too."

"Yes, Gibbs." Shannon has always called him Gibbs, ever since that first meeting all those years ago in his hometown of Stillwater, PA.

The two females finish the dishes then Shannon calls Kelly up to her bedroom. Shutting the door behind her daughter, Shannon then leads Kelly to the window where they can continue watching the kitten at play. Ten minutes pass and then Kelly grabs her mother's arm, pointing out the window. Jethro is putting a small saucer of what appears to be water just underneath the picnic table.

"Mommy?"

"Don't worry baby, I think that your father is having a change of heart, we just can't let him know that yet."

"Okay, so it's a secret that he's putting out food and water, and we're not supposed to know about it?"

"Mmm…your father has a kind heart; it's just not always easy for him to show it."

"Cause he's a Marine and Marines are tough."

Shannon smiles as she nods. "That too."

Jethro watches the kitten as he drinks. From appearances, the kitten is well fed, yet he's drinking the water like there's no tomorrow. Once again he gently picks the kitten up and carries it to the fence line, telling the kitten to go home. The kitten meows once and races down towards a nearby house.

Jethro carries the bowl back into the house, and washes it carefully before drying it and putting it away. He feels eyes upon him and looks towards the entryway. Shannon is leaning against the wall, arms crossed as she watches him.

"He was thirsty, and it would be inhuman to let him get dehydrated."

"Mmm…and what happened to not letting it in?"

"It's not in; I just didn't want it to die from thirst."

"You old softy."

"Who you calling old?" his tone is playful as he picks her up and twirls her around. His silver blue eyes are alight with love as he waits for her response.

"You, Leroy Jethro Gibbs." She punctuates each name with a kiss. He rubs noses with her and as he leans in for yet another kiss they hear Kelly shout down the stairs, panic in her voice.

"Daddy! The dog's chasing the kitten!"

There's only one dog in the neighborhood mean enough to even think of leaving its own yard and it's one that Jethro has been tempted to put down more than once.

"Shannon, call the Turners. Tell them they have two minutes to get Deke out of our yard or I'm using him for target practice."

Shannon doesn't hesitate to place the call. They've had numerous run-ins with the Turners, and their dog. This time, Jethro isn't going to back down. As long as the dog was in another yard, he didn't have reason to shoot the animal. Since it's a threat to Kelly, he needs no other reason.

"Daddy look!" They all watch in amazement as the kitten bounds up to the picnic table. Once there, he turns around and just as the dog raises its muzzle, the claws come out and swipe across the dog's nose.

The dog is so startled it stops in mid-snarl. The kitten swipes again and this time the dog runs for the fence the kitten in hot pursuit. Once the dog has left the yard, the kitten comes back to the picnic table and starts cleaning itself.

"Are you sure we can't keep it Daddy?"

"No Kel, we're not keeping it." How he manages to avoid looking at the disappointment in those eyes he doesn't know.

Another week passes and before they know it, the weekend is upon them. Jethro only has another week left before he's due to ship out again and he spends as much time with Shannon and Kelly as he can. This time the project area has a new item in it, one that neither female Gibbs has ever seen before.

"Gibbs, what are you--?" Shannon's voice trails off as she stares at her husband. He's sound asleep in his chair, and sleeping on his chest is the little black kitten. A soft purring is resonating from the little black chest and Shannon knows that for now the battle is won. The kitten is theirs. Or maybe they belong to the kitten.

She looks again at the mysterious item in the finished projects. Gibbs has made a pet door, one that will fit easily into the kitchen wall and he's even put a small insert with it, so that they can ensure no other animal can get inside.

"Mmmhmm, you old softy." She mutters softly as she heads back up the stairs. Downstairs a pair of green eyes briefly open before closing again, secure in the safety of the Marine's arms. A year passes and the cat while it doesn't stay, has a home when it decides to come in. Kelly names the animal Samson and they all laugh at the image of the kitten taking on the mean dog.

After Shannon and Kelly's deaths, Gibbs comes back to the house that he and Shannon had designed. Grief strikes him as he wanders aimlessly through the rooms. The echoes of his wife and daughter are everywhere, but more than ever they are in the basement. The place where he'd created gifts out of love for the two most important people in his life. He tears the divider down, yelling out his grief, as he tries to come to terms with the senselessness of it all.

Outside, a huge black tomcat, sits on the picnic table, waiting for the man to take away the inner door, so that he can enter the house and comfort the human. When it doesn't happen right away, he hops down and finds the nearest open window. He squeezes inside and finds Gibbs sobbing his heart out in the basement.

"Meow."

He butts his head up against Gibbs chest, letting the human know that he isn't completely alone. Gibbs doesn't even realize the cat is there at first, he simply cradles the black form as he rocks back and forth on his heels. Slowly a loud purring permeates the grief and Gibbs rubs the tears from his face as he stares into green feline eyes.

"Samson." A loud purring is the only acknowledgement the cat makes and Gibbs hugs the cat to him before standing up. He puts the animal at arms length and the cat knows that Gibbs is saying goodbye. Samson wraps his front paws around Gibbs wrists and gently flexes his claws, acknowledging that Gibbs can't be around him anymore.

Gibbs raises the panel on the pet door one last time, and Samson exits the house. Down in the basement, Gibbs cleans up the mess he's made as he plots his revenge. By the time he's done, the basement is no longer a place where love and laughter had been dominant. Now it's a place of methodical thinking, planning and sometimes, when the music is right and the wood is the proper texture remembering what once had been.

***

A/N: don't ask, I really don't know on this one.