Alright, let's discuss BRIEFLY before I begin this chapter. I apologize for having to do this, really I do, but I think it's necessary. Two little notes, that's it, I promise.

First off, it's been a crazy busy holiday, so I took a bit of an extended break. I hope y'all didn't miss me too much!

Second, I suck at planning, therefore causing some frustration in hindsight, but I promise you I'm going to plot the heck out of the next story, and it will BLOW YOUR MIND. (Probably. Maybe. Hopefully.) Hey, I'm seventeen. I can't be expected to think ahead. Don't judge me! Lol. Because of the lack of planning, I changed two little bitty things. So you don't have to re-read, here's a small summary of the changes. (1) In chapter two, Vance tells Lyssa and Gibbs about the weapons trade taking place in a club that Friday. I pushed it to next Friday. Okay? Okay. (2) Grace was a real bee-yotch last chapter, and I didn't mean for her to be that way. All I did to the chapter was make her less of a bee-yotch.

I'm done talking. Now read.


"Ohmygod. Gracie! Did you take my makeup?" Alyssa laughed and dropped her duffel bag on to the couch. "You look like Kesha."

"Who?" Grace looked up from her coloring book. Silver glitter trailed down her cheek across a base of bright pink blush. Her eyes were so covered in thick, dark makeup that she looked like she had been punched.

Alyssa sighed and rolled her eyes. "Never mind. Sometimes I wonder if you're related to me at all." She sat down and pulled her sister against her side, arm across her shoulders. "Did you have a fun sleepover?"

"I guess."

"You guess?"

"Yeah. It was okay. Most of it was fun."

"But?"

"Daddy said we couldn't go outside..." Grace bit her lip and looked back down at her coloring book, avoiding her sister's eyes.

"And you still went outside?

"Yeah." Grace whispered reluctantly.

"Get caught?" Grace nodded dismally. "I see."

"I don't like being little. I wish I were big like you so I could just go over to Abby's house."

"No, Gracie. You don't wanna grow up, babe. It's no fun." Alyssa pulled her little sister close and kissed her forehead. "Don't ever grow up."


Flash Forward: Eleven Years Later

"I'm not gonna cry, I swear." Alyssa said, and looked up to the sky to keep tears from falling.

"Please don't. I don't think I can take it if you cry, too."

Alyssa shook her head. "Gibbs didn't cry."

Grace shrugged and gave her sister a sad smile. "He was crying on the inside."

Alyssa laughed and hugged her sister close. "I can't believe you're gonna leave me here in D.C. when you're so far away."

"I'm going to Virginia, Lyss, not Africa! It's a four hour drive! Lemme go!" She wiggled in her older sister's arms. Once released, she threw her purse into the passenger seat of her car, a yellow '71 Challenger Hemi with black hood stripes.

"Okay. I'm gonna leave now."

"Can't you just skip college? Stay home for another year."

"Why? So you and Dad can smother me? I don't think so. I'm a big girl now, Lyssa." She said, mocking her Alyssa's babying of her younger sister. "I'll be okay."

"All growed up on me."

"It happens. Can't stop it." She shrugged. "Don't get nostalgic. You're going to see me on Saturday."

"Fine." Alyssa took a deep breath and hugged her sister tight once more. "Bye, Gracie. Love ya." Grace waved from the front seat as she drove off, and when the car turned the corner, Alyssa finally cried from missing her "little" sister.


Present day

"Where's Lyssa? I haven't seen her in a few days." Abby asked as she picked up the bag of evidence Gibbs had dropped on the table.

"She hasn't been here in a while. Didn't feel like coming in."

Abby's face grew worried. "Is she sick again?" Gibbs shook his head. "Then why didn't she feel like coming in?"

"I don't know, Abbs. I honestly don't know."

Abby glanced over to Grace, who was settling into a corner with a coloring book and box of crayons, then back to Gibbs. He nodded to the back room, and she opened the door. "Hey, Grace. We'll be right back, okay? Have to talk about boring big people stuff." When Grace nodded, Abby shut the door behind them, cutting her off from their voices. "What's going on?"

"I really don't know. Lyssa's dead quiet, won't talk to me, won't talk to Gracie. She doesn't want to see a movie with Tony, doesn't want to go shopping with Ziva. She won't talk, just locks herself in her room. I can't get anything out of her, or even Grace."

"Huh. She won't talk to you?" Abby repeated, shocked.

"Nope. She doesn't want to talk to anyone. I tried to get her to come down here, to talk to you, but she said no." He looked anxiously through the glass door at Grace, who was paying no attention to them. "I thought you might try to get something out of Grace. She won't talk about Lyssa with me. Alyssa must have told her not to."

"Okay, yeah. I'll see what I can do."

"Thanks, Abbs."


Abby looked from her computer to where Grace was sitting and coloring. Grace pulled Burt to her side, and the animal made a flatulent noise. Abby giggled as she always did, before she noticed the tears in Grace's eyes. She flew to Grace's side and squatted down beside her. "Hey, sweetie. What's wrong?"

Grace sniffled. "Nothin'. "

"Sure? You look kinda upset."

"I'm fine." She defended, but she squeezed the stuffed hippo's sound box again.

"Yeah. Well, I guess you don't care if I sit here with you for a while then, do you?" Grace shook her head, and Abby sat down at the tile floor, crossing her legs in her black plaid pants. "Can I draw with you?" Grace didn't say anything again, just ripped a piece of paper from her notebook and pushed the crayons towards the goth. They both colored quietly for a few minutes, the bass of a punk song the only sound to be heard. After a few minutes, Abby held up her finished drawing, a little blonde cartoon girl holding a stuffed hippo. "I drew this just for you."

Grace smiled shyly and took the picture. Folding it in half carefully, she slid it into her notebook. "Thank you."

"You're welcome! What did you draw?"

Grace pulled the drawing pad up close against her chest. "Nothin'."

"Aw, c'mon, I showed you mine!" Grace cautiously moved the pad to Abby's open hand. "Do you want to tell me about it?" Abby asked immediatly, then nearly regretted it. The theme was obvious, the title across the top reading "My Family". It was vaguely similar to a picture Abby had seen on Gibbs' desk, of the girls and the entire NCIS team, but the difference was disturbing. There were two blonde girls and a taller silver-haired man, but in the background were two crudely-drawn grave monuments that read "Mommy" and "Daddy".


Gibb closed his cell phone and threw it to the desk a little harder than necessary. "McGee, I need you to pull something up for me."

"Sure, what do you need?"

Gibbs walked to stand behind him, his hand on the back of Tim's chair. He sighed before answering. "The Tanner case, Daniel's."

McGee's eyes widened and his mouth fell open, but he quickly closed it and began typing, deciding that now was not the time to question. At his prompting, the case file popped up on the screen. "Hey, did you know Alyssa's seventeenth birthday is next week?"

"Yep. But that's not what I wanted to see." He pointed to another part of the screen.

"Oh." McGee's face fell. "I see. That's tough." He winced at his own wording, knowing that "tough" was not an accurate description. "That why Lyssa's not been around?"

"That's my guess, yeah. She doesn't want to talk about it."

"What are you going to do?"

"I'm not gonna talk about it. Wait for her to come to me."


"Alyssa."

"What?"

"I need to talk to you." There was no response. "It's important." Nothing. "I really don't want to have to take this door down."

The aforementioned door flew open. "What do you want?" Alyssa turned her back on him immediatly and went back to sitting on her bed, typing into a laptop.

Gibbs sat down on the bed beside her, looking at the posters on the walls but watching her out of the corner of his eye. "I was thinking, about the offer Leon gave you on Monday."

She immediately looked up. "Really?"

"Mhm."

"Well, what did you think?"

"I think..." He took a deep breath and tried to swallow the lump in his throat. "I think you should do it."

I'm sure my "future" is pretty distorted, but I don't care. Oh, and Gillian? It's still Friday here. ;)

~Rye