Alyssa and Ducky bonded quickly and strongly. She could constantly be found in autopsy, lying on an examining table and laughing at Ducky's reminiscenes. Gibbs wondered if the teen was too comfortable with death, but then considered Abby... Lyssa would be fine.
Gibbs abruptly walked in on Ducky's tirade of memories. "... where we found both of the corporal's feet, his left hand, and his genitals, which had been-"
"Ducky!" He cut in.
Alyssa smiled. "Aw, Gibbs. He was just getting to the good stuff."
"Got my bullet, Duck?" Jimmy rounded the corner then, carrying a small evidence jar which he passed to Gibbs. He signed out the evidence then looked to Alyssa. "I'm taking this to Abby. You coming?" She nodded.
"Thank you for coming down, my dear. I very much enjoyed your visit." Ducky said as she kissed him on the cheek. "I'll call you when I have more information, Jethro."
Alyssa waved goodbye to Jimmy, then turned back to Gibbs, smirking. "I'm all yours... Jethro."
He smirked back before lifting her up by the waist and toting over his shoulder to the elevator. He clamped his right arm tight around her thighs and tried to avoid being hit by her kicking stilettos.
"Hey, put me down!" She screamed, but laughed as she pounded her fists against his strong back. He bent his knees slightly and straightened back up as the elevator began to drop, making her feel like she was falling. Alyssa squealed. "Don't drop me!"
"Think you can go back to calling me 'Gibbs'?" Alyssa could hear the smile in his voice.
"Yes, definitely. Just don't drop me!"
"Deal." He leaned forward and gently set her feet back on the floor. She giggled and leaned against the elevator wall, staring at him. Her look suddenly became serious. Gibbs flipped the emergency switch, changing the elevator into his favorite conference room. He leaned against the wall opposite her, content to her wait our. It didn't take long.
"Grace calls you 'dad'."
"She never really knew her real dad, though, so I guess that's okay." He nodded silently. "But I don't I think I could... I mean, that..." She seemed at a loss for words, a rare problem for the teenager.
"You don't have to if you don't want to."
She slowly nodded. "Okay."
He turned the elevator back on, and they sank down to the next level in silence. When they got to Abby's lab, Alyssa turned back to him. "I think I'm gonna go home. Is that okay?"
"Sure. Grace can stay here with me." He definitely noticed her reference to his house as 'home'. Maybe she was warming up to him...
"Yeah, whatever." She turned and sped off before he could say anything else. Or not...
The Next Day
"So... First day of school's tomorrow. Are you guys excited?" Tony asked as Alyssa and Grace came into the NCIS office on the last day of summer.
Alyssa scoffed. "That's not the word I would've chosen."
"I'm excited, Tony!" Grace rushed up and jumped into his lap. He laughed as she continued. "My teacher, her name is Ms. Casey. We met her yesterday. And she's really nice and really pretty, and she says we're going to read Charlotte's Web! That's my favorite!"
"Wow! That sounds like fun."
"What about you, Alyssa?"
"Like I said, not so excited.
"Grace is excited." Tony said, confused.
"Yeah, but she's in second grade, where the definition of drama is when someone steals your crayons."
"Oh. Remind me, what's considered drama in tenth grade?"
She considered this for a minute. "A guy cheating on his girlfriend and getting the other girl pregnant."
"Ah." Tony settled back in his chair.
Halfway across the bullpen, Gibbs froze in midstep. Guy, girlfriend, pregnant? Oh, no. "Lyssa, with me."
She rolled her eyes, but followed him. She waited until they were alone in the elevator before speaking. "What's up?"
He flipped the emergency switch and turned to face her. "Do you have a boyfriend?"
Fighting a smile, she answered. "Not at the moment."
"Well, don't... get one." He said awkwardly. This was harder than he thought it would be.
"I don't want you going out with anyone." He growled, knowing that she had heard him perfectly well.
"Alright, alright. Chill. Geesh. Besides, I'm totally done with guys for now. The last guy I dated, he was such a-"
"No. Not 'for now'. Until you're at least..." He thought for a moment. "Twenty one."
"You cannot be serious."
"Didn't we just have this 'father' discussion earlier? And I was agreed that I wasn't ready for that?"
"We agreed that you're not ready for me to be your father. Fine. But while you live in my house, you will obey my rules."
"Are you really using that cliche?"
He just glared at her. Couldn't she see that he was just trying to keep her safe?
"Wow. Alright. Fine." She turned to the front of the elevator defiantly, arms crossed across her chest.
"Fine." He flicked the switch and the elevator jerked into motion. Alyssa made to get off at Abby's lab before he stopped her. "Oh, and Lyssa?"
"Don't make plans for after school on Thursday."
"It's the first day of school. I doubt I'm going to have plans quite that fast."
"Good. You and Grace have appointments with a therapist for five and six."
Alyssa paused in the open doors. "What?"
"You, Grace, therapy, Thursday. Which part don't you understand." He scowled at her.
"Yeah, the thing is, I don't do therapy. It's just not my scene. But I can take Grace by, no problem..."
"It wasn't a suggestion."
"Well. If I have no choice..." She shrugged compliantly, but her eyes were flashing. She exited the elevator, fuming. Abby wasn't in her lab, but she wasn't eager to see Gibbs again, so she pulled up a chair in the empty room and turned on her iPod. She still wasn't keen on the idea of therapy, but she figured at least she would have something to talk to about a certain 'silver-haired fox' that was seriously beginning to drive her crazy.
"Hey, kid. Where's Abs?" Tony came into the room from the direction of the stairs. Ziva followed, carrying a stack of papers.
"What's wrong with you?"
"He said that I had to go to therapy."
He pulled up a chair across from her as Ziva searched for a place to put the papers. "And you said?"
"That I respectfully decline."
Tony burst into laughter. "How did that work out for you?"
"Not as well as I had planned."
"He said you must go?" Ziva looked at Alyssa.
"Yeah. But at the time, it felt more like a threat."
"It was." Gibbs appeared suddenly behind her, causing both Alyssa and Tony to jump.
"Right. That's what I thought." Alyssa said, then looked back to Tony and mouthed, "How does he do that?"
"I have no idea." He mouthed back.
"Dead marine in Norfolk. Gear up."
"Bye!" Alyssa waved as they exited, leaving her alone in the lab. "See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya."
Gibbs pulled his cell phone from his pocket and stared at the screen. He still wasn't completely converted to the wonders of technology, but he had figured out early on that the best way to keep in touch with Alyssa would be texting, so he would give it his best shot. He fumbled with the keys and sent a new message.
Where are you?
Within seconds, his phone dinged in reply.
On the way. B there in 5.
Gibbs stopped, sat silent at his desk until the two girls arrived and exited the elevator.
Grace squirmed out of her sister's arms and rushed off to Jethro. She threw her arms around his neck. "Good morning, Daddy!"
"Morning, princess. You sleep good?" She nodded. "You look very pretty today."
"Thanks! Lyssa helped me pick out my outfit. It's pretty, huh?" She stood up and turned around, causing her lime green skirt to swirl out. Her smile grew huge. Grace was absurdly fond of swishing skirts.
"Very nice. Good morning, Alyssa."
The teenager groaned and fell back into an office chair she had claimed for her own. She had covered it in tie-dye ducktape, and the bright colors could be seen through out the bullpen. It often floated between one desk to the other as Alyssa made her rounds, talking to everyone on Gibbs' team. She talked tech with McGee, watched Youtube clips with Tony, and discussed fashion (and possibly boys) with Ziva. Gibbs had noticed his team watching for her and Grace to follow him in, as if desperate for some meaningless chit-chat.
"It is not a good morning. There is no such thing as a good morning. Especially when the morning involves school, double especially when it is the first day of school."
"Double especially?" Tony teased from across the aisle.
"Shut up, DiNozzo." Both Alyssa and Gibbs replied at the same time.
Jethro smiled. He knew there was a reason he liked her. "You two better get going if you don't want to be late."
"Yay!" Grace spun around in another circle. Alyssa groaned again, but louder this time. He picked up Grace to carry her back to the car, and stretched out a hand to Alyssa to help her up. She glared at him angrily for a moment before taking it.
He buckled Grace into her car seat, which was now slightly less bewildering to him. Alyssa sat in the driver's seat of her car, changing the radio station. He leaned in through the open passenger window. "Were you texting me while you were driving?"
Alyssa looked up, suprised. "Uh..."
"Do it again and you won't sit for a week. And don't do it at school, either."
"Is that a threat?"
"Yes. Have a good day." She was still sitting in the looking confused as he walked away.
Alyssa froze when she saw the figure leaning against her car.
"I came to make sure you made it to your appointment on time."
"Wow. How considerate of you."
"How was your day?" He opened the passenger door for her, and she rolled her eyes but crawled in. Grace was already sitting in the backseat, eating an ice cream cone.
"What were your teachers like?"
"Did you make any friends?"
Alyssa glared at him. "The only thing we did today is get our schedules. And I was so lost in that huge school that I spent most of my time searching for my next class. I talked to maybe two people that weren't teachers, to get directions, and they gave me the wrong ones. So yes, my day was fabulous."
"Oh." Gibbs wasn't quite sure what to say to that, so they drove on in silence, until Grace took it upon herself to resolve the tension.
"Guess what I did today, Lyssa?"
"No, you have to guess!"
Alyssa groaned. "I don't know what you did! Just tell me!"
Gibbs glared at her and she halted what was sure to be a furious rant. "I don't think we can guess, sweetheart. Why don't you just tell us what you did?"
"I was the line leader!"
"Wow! Did you do a good job?"
"Uh-huh! Ms. Casey said I was a extra good line leader!"
After sitting for an hour
Alyssa entered the therapist's small room. She looked around and nodded. "Not bad, doc. You make it look so much larger than it is. But your lack of motivational posters is quite disappointing. I especially like the ones with the kittens..."
"Please, come in, Alyssa. Have a seat. How are you doing?"
"Marvelous, thank you. Actually, I'm doing so well that I think I'll just skip this session..." She backed towards the door as she spoke.
The doctor smiled politely but firmly. "Sit down, Alyssa."
She sat down begrudgingly, only because she doubted she could make it all the way out the door without Gibbs catching her. "Listen, I know how this works. You sit there, all silent, waiting for me to break down and sob my eyes out, and then you tell me we're going to work through this together. And then I'll come back next week, and we'll do it all over again, with more or less crying, and again the next week. But I'm not going to do that. You have to remember, I live with Gibbs. You know, grey-haired guy with the stare of death? I don't break that easily, Doctor..."
"Jameson, but you can call me Zoe."
"Right. I don't break that easily, Zoe." Alyssa said, putting a slightly sarcastic tinge on the doctor's name.
"Special Agent Gibbs tells me you've been to therapy before?"
"I gather you don't really want to talk about it?"
"Okay, then. We can change the subject for now. How are your sleeping?"
"Rarely and poorly."
"Well, your sister really looks up to you."
"And you really care about her?"
Alyssa didn't even deign an answer to this. She looked at the clock to her left and then dropped her head into her hands. This was going to be a long 58 minutes...