When the door opened and Abby entered, a blast of cold air sailed in with her. She dropped her bag in the hall as she slammed the door against the bitter weather, and proceeded to take off her coat, hat, and mittens. Placing her winter apparel in the hall closet, she called out, "Gibbs, I'm home!" There was no answer, but she smelled the distinct aroma of chili and so she made her way to the kitchen.
"Hey," Gibbs greeted, turning from the pot of chili he was stirring. Abby went up and hugged him from behind, and Gibbs continued, "Tony called from the gym. He said he'd be here within an hour."
"Ok," Abby answered, "are we waiting dinner on him?"
"Yeah, so go find something to do. I need to catch up on paperwork." With that, Gibbs cut the stove's unit down to the lowest setting and left the room. Abby finished setting the table and then retrieved her bag from the hall and took it to her room. She pulled out the books she'd brought with her and arranged them on the bookcase. Pulling out the drawer of the nightstand, she grabbed a pen and some greeting cards, then pulled her stuffed hippo, Bert, off the bed and ran back downstairs. In the living room she slipped a cd into the portable player Tony had brought over several months ago and flung herself on the sofa. With the music in the background she prepared several Christmas cards for mailing.
Up for another cup of coffee, Gibbs glanced in the living room on his way to the kitchen. He smiled at the picture of Abby sprawled across the sofa, pen clutched between her teeth, a card in her hand, and music blasting in the background.
Tony burst through the door a few minutes later dragging a trail of snow. Slamming it closed, he shook himself all over, like a soaked puppy, and snowflakes flew in every direction. Yanking off his coat, he found his clothes were sopping wet. It was brutal out there! Kicking off his shoes so that he didn't track through the house, he headed up the stairs to his room. Gibbs was on his way back down, and when he saw Tony, ordered, "Hey, go get a shower and change into dry clothes. We can't take a chance of your lungs getting congested."
Tony saluted and answered cheekily, "Sure thing, Dad!"
Gibbs shook his head in exasperation and laughed, then watching Tony go to his room, called out, "Don't leave all those wet clothes on the floor, either. Bring them down with you when you're through."
Thirty minutes later all three were gathered at the kitchen table eating steaming bowls of chili. Abby had checked the weather channel and determined that this was the first prong of the storm, and that another would follow the next day. Biting into a saltine cracker she asked, "So, can we watch a movie after supper? I mean all of us?"
Gibbs responded, "I want to work in the basement. You two can watch though."
"No, Boss, you watch with us. We want you to join us." Tony wheedled.
"Yeah," Abby added, "it's not the same if you don't participate. Please watch with us."
"We'll see. Get this kitchen cleaned up before you do anything to the vcr."
Tony and Abby exchanged amused glances and Abby corrected him, "DVD player, Gibbs, not vcr-"
"Whatever, but clean up before you put the movie in."
With that he excused himself and headed down to the basement. Though he didn't say it out loud, he didn't mind having Abby and Tony stay. For a number of reasons they had been visitors over and over throughout the years. The three had a tight relationship, evident at NCIS, but cemented and forged at Jehtro's house. Usually the get togethers were because of one crisis or another. For example, Abby's pipes had frozen last year, and Tony's unit was being refurbished another time. There was really no reason for them to be there today, but he assumed they had decided to spend the night with him by putting their heads together at work today. The two now no longer asked permission to come visit, but Gibbs would make his way home and find one or the other there, or them there together. He did feel very much like a father, and it was pretty evident that he was a substitute parent to both of them. It was also obvious that there was a tight bond between Tony and Abby, and that both a strong sibling rivalry and familial affection interspersed their interactions with Gibbs. Gibbs poured himself a shot of bourbon and began working on the boat.