As usual by seven o’ clock the house was in chaos as everyone awoke and got ready for Christmas Day Mass. Luckily each bedroom in Ali’s house had their own adjoining bathroom so no one had to wait for a free bathroom. So as Gibbs woke Ali Tobias went downstairs and started the coffee maker. With a smile he noticed that the younger team members had straightened up the living room before going to bed even cleaning the kitchen. As the coffee maker started dripping he headed back upstairs, meeting Gibbs as he exited Ali’s room.
“Morning Jethro” said Tobias with a smile, and then leaned in stealing a quick kiss before moving passed Gibbs to go into their bedroom.
With a smile on his face Gibbs followed Tobias into their bedroom, choosing his suit while Tobias showered. As soon as the shower shut off Gibbs slipped in the bathroom, moving slowly behind Tobias as he shaved and slipped into the shower.
Twenty minutes later Gibbs and Tobias were dressed and ready to go and with one last look over each other they left their to go check on Ali and the rest of their family. As they exited their room Ali was just coming out of her room, standing in the doorway waiting for them.
“Way to go Papa. lookin’ good Daddy” said Ali with a little whistle and smiled as she got a blush out of both men.
“You’re not looking so bad yourself baby girl” answered Gibbs as he came over and kissed her on the side of her head.
She was wearing a dark burgundy three quarter length velvet dress with capped sleeves and matching sash. Dark tights and matching heels completed her outfit. Her only accessories were her Angel Open Hearts necklace and her Pandora charm bracelet.
As Tobias extended his arm Ali gracefully took his arm then let him lead her downstairs with Gibbs following closely behind them. As the little family descended the stairs a hush fell over the rest of the team, with Tim quickly grabbing his camera and quickly snapping off several pictures.
“You guys look wonderful, especially you Ali. You look beautiful.” said Abby as she came over and carefully hugged Al.
“Thanks Abby, you don’t think it’s too much?” asked Ali. She was still very self conscious about dressing up for special events as Allison. She was much more comfortable as Ali or work Allison then she was for times like this.
“You look perfect Ktantonet, even for a church in my country.” said Ziva as she also came over and hugged Ali.
“Well I hate to break this up but I think it’s time I head out and pick up Emily.” said Tobias.
“Are you sure you have the direction, or do you want one of us to go with you?” asked Abby as she looked at the older man. She knew how important this was to Ali and didn’t want anything to mess this up for her.
“I think I’ve got it Abby thanks, I drove the route a few days ago just to make sure and I’ll call if something happens.” said Tobias as he grabbed his coat then put it on and before he left he came over and kissed Ali one more time. “Don’t worry little one, I’ll meet you at church before Mass starts with Emily.”
“Okay, love you Papa and be careful” whispered Ali as she held onto him for a second longer then let go and went directly into Gibbs arms.
Even though it had been her idea to bring Emily into their little family she sometimes still had a feeling that Emily was going to take Tobias away from her. She knew in her heart that Tobias was firmly set in being her Papa but sometimes her mind still reminded her of the Admiral leaving her. As she watched the door close behind Tobias she turned and buried her face in Gibbs chest.
“It’s alright baby girl, papa will return you’ll see. How about we ask Ducky to read you a story before we have to leave for the church?” said Gibbs as he led Ali into the living room.
As they settled on the couch Ducky grabbed one of Ali’s favorite storybooks and sat down beside her and began to read. Thirty minutes later everyone was climbing into three cars and heading towards Abby’s church. As promised Tobias met everyone at the entrance of Abby’s church so everyone entered together finding seats.
An hour or so later everyone was slowly filling out of the church, making their way towards their cars then another twenty minutes or so later returned home. Allison went directly into the kitchen stopping only for a few minutes in her room so Gibbs could change her diaper and she could put up her Pandora charms bracelet.
After Tobias and Emily entered, he quickly went to find Ali and Gibbs in the kitchen. She was still wearing her church clothes but changed out of her heels into flat shoes and was wearing a huge apron over her dress. As he stood in the doorway watching his little girl and partner fixing their Christmas Day breakfast he had to smile. He’d been surprised when Gibbs had told him about Ali being afraid that we would stay with Emily and not meet them at church. But he had to keep reminding himself that he was still the new papa to Ali and she was still insecure about him at times. Well Ali didn’t have to worry, Emily was his blood daughter yes, but Ali was just as much his daughter as Emily was.
So with a smile on his face he said called softly. “How’s my little girl doing?” then braced himself.
“Papa!” screamed Ali as dropped what she was working on and ran into his arms.
In the living room Emily turned at Ali’s screamed then looked at the smiling faces of the other members of Gibbs’ team and asked. “Ali?”
“Yep, that’s the squirt” replied Tony then turned back to watch the Christmas Parade.
Emily quietly got up and went towards the kitchen just in time to see Ali wrapping her arms around Tobias’ neck.
“You came back….you came back”
“Of course I did sweetheart, I told you Emily and I would see you at home and were both here”
“Oh…so she’s here?” asked Ali quietly.
“Yep, she’s out in the living room” answered Tobias.
“Uhhhhh…actually I’m right here Dad. Hello Allison” said Emily as she stepped into the kitchen doorway.
Ali stayed in Tobias’ arms but turned to face the young woman. “Hello Emily” said Ali politely.
“I meant to say something earlier, you look very pretty” said Emily as she looked at the woman in her father’s arms. The dress and color were very flattering to her and even in flats she looked beautiful.
“Ohhhh, thank you so do you” said Ali.
“Shouldn’t you change though, I mean you don’t want to ruin your dress while you’re cooking” asked Emily as she looked at the woman.
Even though she wore an oversized apron there were still a few splatters of whatever they were making on her face and arms. Most of the others had changed into comfortable clothes as soon as they returned from church leaving only Gibbs, Tobias, Ducky, Emily and Allison in their church clothes. As Tobias looked down at the woman in his arms he could tell Emily was right, Ali did have a few splatters of their batter on her face and arms.
As he looked at Ali he smiled and shrugged. “It’s up to you little one”
After a few seconds thought Ali replied “I think I’ll stay Allison for a little while longer, but I’ll be careful Papa I promise”
“Alright little one, I know you can, but remember that dress is dry clean only” responded Tobias then with one more kiss to Ali’s forehead led Emily back into the living room
Thirty minutes later everyone was sitting around the table in the dining room enjoy Gibbs and Ali’s Christmas Day breakfast of pancakes with fruit topping and whip cream, bacon, sausage, and eggs along with coffee, tea, orange juice or milk for Ali. As was tradition since Gibbs and Ali cooked someone else cleaned so after some good natured haggling Tony, Ziva and Abby volunteered to clean up the kitchen while everyone else watched the Christmas Parade. Since Ali and Gibbs were cooking Tony had recorded it since he knew how much Ali liked to watch it after breakfast. When the kitchen was all cleaned up everyone finished watching the parade in the living room until at last Santa Claus appeared officially ending the parade.
As the parade credits rolled Ali stood up, stretching then leaned over and whispered something into Gibbs’ ear.
At her request Gibbs smiled then stood taking her hand saying “Sure thing Ali, why don’t you go on up I’ll be there in a minute”
“Uhhhhh…Gibbs, can Ziva and I take care of Ali this time we have something we want to show her upstairs.” asked Abby as she looked at them then over at Ziva. Since Emily would be leaving soon now was as good a time as any to give Ali their extra present.
“It’s up to you Ali?” answered Gibbs
“Sure, be right back Daddy” called Ali then headed towards the stairs followed by Abby and Ziva.
Tobias had a good idea what Abby and Ziva were up to so now was as good a time as any for him to take Emily home before Allison became officially Ali. He could tell that Emily was really trying but was still a little uncomfortable being around Ali. So with a sigh, he stood and said
“Well, I guess it’s about time I start back with Emily. Are you ready Em?” asked Tobias as he looked at his daughter.
She was staring at the stairs where Ali, Abby and Ziva had just climbed and probably knew full well what was going on. Ziva and Abby were changing Allison into Ali. With a shake of her head she turned away from the stairs and answered her father. “Uhhhhh yeah, I’m ready Dad. Thanks Gibbs for letting me come to your Christmas Breakfast, and thank Allison for asking me to Mass. I really enjoyed myself.” said Emily as she headed towards the foyer to retrieve her coat.
Tobias watched as his blood daughter headed towards the foyer, then up stairs to the daughter of his heart changing into Ali. He knew he really needed to stay here and be with Ali but Emily needed him. Gibbs could handle Ali for a while so he could sort out Emily. So with a reluctant sigh he followed Emily into the foyer, grabbing his coat.
Before he had his coat buttoned and was halfway out the door a very excited Ali bounced down the stairs followed by Abby and Ziva.
“Daddy, Papa. Look what Abby and Ziva gave me isn’t it pretty!” exclaimed Ali as she came down the stairs then slid to a halt in the hallway as she saw Tobias and Emily in the foyer. “Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t think you were still here” said Ali shyly then went into Gibbs’ arms and buried her face in his shirt.
“It’s alright baby girl, and yes you look very pretty. Now say goodbye to Emily and thank her for coming” said Gibbs with a chuckle in his voice.
He had to admit she did look adorable and with her clinging to his waist it made her even cuter. She was wearing another spaghetti strapped tank top this time with a heavy knit scooped neck tee-shirt dress that came down to her knees and flannel Capri pants underneath. It was white with blue snowflakes all over it and the tank top and pants were the same color as the snowflakes on her dress.
“Goodbye Emily and thank you for coming to Mass and Christmas breakfast with us.” said Ali sort of mumbled as she was still hiding against Gibbs’ chest.
“Ali” started Gibbs then stopped when he saw the look Emily was giving him. What was it about the woman in his and Tobias’ life that could stop his anger with a glance?
“It’s alright Gibbs, I understand. Goodbye Ali and thank you again, I had a wonderful time.” said Emily then pulled her dad out of the house before he could say anything else.
“Ops sorry Boss man, I guess we should have warned you before we can down.” said Abby as she came into the foyer.
“I don’t think it would have made a difference, and what did I say about making a habit out of spoiling Ali” said Gibbs firmly but with a smile on his face.
It felt good to know that his family thought enough about Ali to buy her clothes and things and it was nice that Ali was now getting out of wearing only his or thrift store oversized clothes. She might be only able to wear these clothes around the house or at the beach house but that didn’t mean she couldn’t look pretty while she was wearing them. Her outfit was practical and warm while still very pretty and he had to admit she did look darn cute it in.
In the car Tobias drove Emily home in complete silence and it wasn’t until they were parked in front of Diana’s house that he spoke.
“Are you alright Em, you seem a bit upset?” asked Tobias as he looked at his daughter.
“Not really upset, just a little confused. Is she always that way when she’s Ali?” asked Emily as he turned in the seat to face her father.
“Yep, you got a taste of the full blown Ali. Although I think she’s a little more excited because it’s the holidays but she’s pretty much like that all the time.” responded Tobias honestly. There was no need to lie to here if she was going to spend any time with Ali she might as well know what she was getting herself into.
“And you and Gibbs are ok with her acting like that. I mean she’s nearly what, sixty?” asked Emily point blank
“She will be sixty two in July Emily. And to answer your question, yes. Jethro and I are perfectly okay with her acting like that when she’s around us or her family. If it makes you uncomfortable then we can arrange for you to only see her as Allison if you’d be more comfortable Em” answered Tobias.
“I’m sorry Dad, I’d really like to be a part of your new family but I’m just not yet comfortable enough to be around Allison when she’s Ali. You understand don’t?”
“Of course I do, and so does Ali”
“She does?” asked Emily
“Yep, as a matter of fact she told Jethro and I after your first meeting that she thought it might take a little while before you became comfortable enough to be around her when she was Ali but she thought you‘ll come around eventually.”
“Wow, she’s one smart lady” said Emily with awe in her voice.
“Yes she is and very understanding and forgiving too. So if she can wait for you to accept her as Ali then I guess I can to, just so long as you keep an open mind and remember why she acts the way she does.”
“Oh I will Dad, and I think if I had to go through her childhood I’d probably be the same way so I’m glad she’s found you and Gibbs who will give her a little part of her childhood back.”
“Thanks Em that means a lot” said Tobias as he leaned over and kissed his daughter.
“You’re welcome dad, now I’d better get in the house before mom storms out to find out what sort of scheme were hatching. Give my love to Gibbs and Allison and wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for me” said Emily as she got out of the car and went into the house.
Tobias sat until the door closed then drove back to their house to find everyone sitting around the living room anxiously awaiting his arrival. As he hung up his coat Gibbs met him in the foyer and asked. “Is Emily alright?” he had seen her reaction to Ali bouncing down the stairs and was afraid things had changed with their plans. They really might have to go to have two separate holidays one with just Gibbs and the family without Tobias, then another smaller one with just the three of them.
“Everything’s fine Jethro. It’s what Allison told us before; Emily’s still a little uncomfortable being around Allison when she’s in “Ali mode”. So for now she’s agreed to only come around when she’s Allison, until she’s comfortable.”
“And you’re okay with this Tobias?” asked Jethro as he took the other man in his arms. He knew how important Emily was to him but he also knew that he didn’t want to give up Ali even for Emily.
“I can’t say I’m totally happy about it but at least I still have both my girls, just not together like I’d hoped.” Answered Tobias wistfully
“Give it time Tobias, you never know Emily’s a smart girl and she may surprise you one day. But right now you have a baby girl who’s in there wanting to tear into some presents so how about we go spend the rest of Christmas with our other little girl” said Gibbs with a gently kiss to her forehead then gently led him into the living room.
As foretold Ali was sitting around the Christmas tree with everyone trying unsuccessfully to distract her until Tobias returned, when she saw his she jumped up, running to him and literally pulling him into the living room sitting down on the couch.
“Now may we start Ducky, please….please!” asked Ali as she looked at the older man.
He had been quiet firm in his instructions even threatening to inform Gibbs is she even touched one of the presents before Tobias returned. Now that both Tobias and Gibbs were here she was waiting with anticipation for his permission to start Christmas.
“Yes my sweet Allison, now we can begin Christmas.” said Ducky joyfully.
It was always a pleasure to watch Ali in such unadulterated joy that it had been hard even for him to restrain her but Jethro would never have forgiven him since this was Tobias’ first Christmas with Ali and he had yet to experience the full Christmas Ali. But now everyone was here and as everyone took their places as the presents were passed out then the festivities began.
As always Gibbs watched and took pictures as Ali and the younger members exchanged gifts. Any gifts between Gibbs, Tobias and Ali had been given earlier and privately. So now they both watched as Ali sat amongst a pile of gift from each member of their extended family.
As always the gifts from each member of their extended family was something that the person enjoyed doing with Ali. So from Tony Ali received movies, from Tim she received Lego sets or books about museums, national monuments, the symphony, ballet, or the opera. From Abby she received a new tool for her tool kit, and from Ziva Ali received a puzzle. From Ducky and Palmer Ali received several books to add to her collection.
Although Tobias and Gibbs bitterly complained about spoiling Ali she found extra gifts from Ducky, Ziva and Abby. From Abby and Ziva Ali received more winter play sets and even a few extra winter sleep sets. From Ducky Ali received several stretchy headbands with bows attached. Earlier in the season she had asked if she could start wearing bows like the ones he wore but since her hair was cut so short Ducky found the headbands that Ali could wear. With a squeal of delight she once again made the rounds thanking everyone for their gifts.
After all the paper was cleaned up and the gifts put away they spent the rest of the morning either playing on the floor or watching Christmas Day basketball on television. By noon time Ali was worn out so after a light lunch she willing went upstairs were Gibbs changed her then put her down for her nap. Since she had awoken early and had very exciting day she slept longer than her usual nap awakening only just before four o’ clock that evening.
Since no one wanted leftovers for dinner Tim and Tony made a run for Chinese food made another stop as well. Since Ali had liked the books on the ballet and opera so much Tim had wanted to get her a copy of the ballet the “Nutcracker Suite” so he asked Tony about it while they were out and Tony being the expert in all things cinematic new just were to stop to pick up a copy. While they were there Tony picked out a classic production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M. S. Pinafore”
When they returned everyone ate then Tony and Tim produced the new gifts receiving firm but halfhearted scolding from both Tobias and Gibbs. As they settled down to watch the “Nutcracker Suite” Tobias and Gibbs couldn’t help but look over their family and give thanks for all the blessings that this year had given them. Not only had Gibbs found this soul mate but also someone to share the joys, trails and heartaches of raising his baby girl. Ali had found another father to love and take care of her and Tobias had found not only a partner but another daughter to love. That night as the house settled down to sleep Gibbs and Tobias spent the night not only celebrating the Christmas holiday but also each other and the joy of their little family.
As Ali said it did take Emily a while to become comfortable with being around Ali but eventually the two became close friends. There were more trails and a few heartaches for their little family but like any family they bonded together and in the end became stronger because of it and their love.
A/N: When I hate to say it but this ends my little series of stories (unless the inspiration bug hits again LOL). I want to thank everyone who read, favorite, followed or review this story or one of the previous sequels. I am amazed that so many people have followed my little series and fell honored that people would take the time to read my writing. Hopefully I will write more soon, until then thanks and “God Bless everyone” J J
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Rena MasonWrite a Review