By: MchakotayParis (R. Mason)
50 States Series: Wyoming
Chapter 2: Ali to the Rescue
As it turned out Gibbs and Tobias did have to threaten Ali with taking away their trip and after a spanking and some corner time for throwing a fit Ali was almost picture perfect until they left for their trip. Abby, Ziva, Augustina and Jackie found some cute overall jumpers and denim skirts for Ali to wear when she wasn't horseback riding, while Tim, Tony and bought her a cowboy hat and boots. Jimmy and Leon bought Ali several western shirts while Ducky made sure they all had match hair bows.
They also packed some of Ali's regular sundresses and even a few of her "big Ali" dresses just encase she needed to dress up. By the time they'd packed everything for their trip they'd decided to have some of Ali's things shipped out to the Lazy L dude ranch and only arrived at the airport with a bag for each of them. After a short delay they boarded the plane and were soon headed towards Laramie Wyoming and their two weeks at a dude ranch.
At the airport Tobias and Gibbs got a rental car and after filling out all the paper work had their bags and Ali loaded and were headed towards the Lazy L Dude Ranch. The Lazy L's schedule started on a Sunday so they arrived just after breakfast on September 6th. After checking in and being shown to their cabin suite, Tobias, Gibbs and Ali put away all their clothes then squared the cabin and then spent the rest of the morning investigating the ranch.
As advertised the Lazy L dude ranch had horseback riding, skeet shooting, archery and many other activities offered to its guest along with several horseback excursions and even an overnight horseback riding trip with campfire and sleeping under the stars. Ali had wanted to do all the activities but Tobias and Gibbs finally convinced her to forgo the overnight excursion because of her back and hip, but promised her that she could do anything else she wanted to.
As the lunch bell rang Ali, Tobias and Gibbs headed towards the lodge and entered the large dining room to find many rows of tables set up bunk house style.
"Welcome to the Lazy L Dude Ranch, please sit anywhere you like. Lunch will be served shortly" said a kind middle aged woman.
"Thank you, come on baby girl. Let's grab a seat before everyone gets here" said Gibbs as he steered Ali towards a table off to the side.
A few minutes later the dining room started to fill up and there was another couple plus a young man sitting at the table with them? Lunch was a simple meal of spaghetti, garlic bread and a salad with tea or coffee to drink. After lunch Tobias took Ali back to their cabin for a diaper change and nap while Gibbs checked out the late afternoon activities. It turned out that Sunday was a day of rest even at the dude ranch so when Ali woke up around four o' clock they took her to the corrals where the horses were and let her sketch them. By dinner time she had several very good sketches of the horses in the corral and after dinner spent the rest of the evening sitting on their front porch finishing them then coloring them.
When they went into wake Ali on Monday morning they saw that she was once again tangled in her sheets but sleeping peacefully. As Tobias gathered her diaper supplies, Gibbs sat down on the bed and gently woke Ali.
"Hey beautiful, how did you sleep?" asked Gibbs as Ali finally opened her eyes.
She had been so excited yesterday that it had taken them longer than usual to calm her down so she'd gotten to sleep a little later than her usual bed time.
"I feel good Daddy, are we going horseback riding today?" asked Ali as she looked up at Gibbs.
They'd promised her that she could do all the activities at the Lazy L Ranch and she was raring to go.
"The horseback riding trip this morning is a long one and stays out until after lunch, but there is a shorter ride this afternoon that we're planning on taking" explained Gibbs as he stood up.
He knew Ali would be disappointed but also knew that because of diaper situation that she wouldn't be able to go on the longer rides, so they'd schedule her for all the shorter ones plus a few private rides as well.
"Oh okay Daddy, I guess you're right about the longer trips. Kinda awkward changing my diaper in the middle of nowhere" said Ali with a smile
"Ya think?" said Gibbs with a smile then stood up and moved so Tobias could change Ali's diaper.
After Tobias finished changing Ali, he helped her dress in one of her new denim jumpers and together they made their way to the lodge for breakfast. Breakfast was in the same as style as lunch and dinner so they made their way to a table and waited it to be served. When the plates were brought out Ali dug into her eggs, bacon, and toast enthusiastically and soon had her plate finished.
"Would you like some more little one?" asked one of the ladies who was serving
"Oh no thank you ma'am, it was wonderful but I'm full. But may I please have another glass of juice?" asked Ali politely
"You certainly may sweetheart, I'll be right back" smiled the lady then left to get Ali another glass of orange juice
"Be careful you don't drink too much and get sick Ali, remember we will be hiking later on this morning" reminded Tobias
"I won't Papa" said Ali happily then smiled at the lady when she returned with her drink "Thank you"
After breakfast was finished Tobias took Ali back to their cabin to change her into her hiking clothes and pack a small bag for her just encase. By ten o' clock everyone was gathered at the lodge and soon headed out for an easy hike to one of the Ranches most popular spots. The Lazy L Ranch had a medium sized rock formation that over the years had formed until it stood about eight to ten feet in height. When climbed you could see all of the ranch and almost all the way to Laramie. The hike to the rock took about thirty minutes and by the time everyone got their Ali was really excited.
"Can I climb the rock Daddy, oh please? Oh please!" asked Ali as they stopped to take pictures of the rock.
"If the guide says it's alright, and one of us goes with you" said Tobias.
"The rock is perfectly safe to climb Mr. Fornell, but we do recommend an adult accompany the little ones" said the guide with a smile.
When Tobias and Gibbs made the reservations they insisted that the ranch staff be told of their situation and the fact that Ali had the personality of a two year old, even though she was over sixty, so everyone understood the way she acted. So far the staff had treated Ali well and there hadn't been any problems.
"Come on sweetheart, I'll go with you to the top" said Gibbs as he lead Ali towards the rock.
After a few struggles Ali stood triumphantly at the top of the rock and looked out over the vast and beautiful scenery that was Wyoming.
"Wow Daddy! This is beautiful!"
"Sure is sweetheart, I'll bet Abby and the others would love to see a sketch of this if you think you draw it?" said Gibbs
"You bet Daddy, and I'll take pictures to so they can see the real thing as well" said Ali enthusiastically as she got out her camera and took several shots from various angles.
When she was done Gibbs helped Ali climb down the rock then waited until everyone was finished and the group headed back to the lodge. After a quick clean up and diaper change they eat lunch in the lodge and then Gibbs put Ali down for her nap.
By four o' clock Ali was awake and after her snack and a reminder of the safety rules the trio headed towards the corrals for their afternoon horseback riding trip. At the corral Ali chose a light brown chestnut horse named Coca, while Gibbs and Tobias got on black and white palominos. After saddling Ali's horse, Gibbs helped Ali mount and then walked her horse over to where Tobias stood looking at the one he would ride.
"Come on Tobias, you told Tony you'd ridden before" said Gibbs as he looked at his husband.
"That was years ago Jethro, at Emily's fifth birthday party. She wanted a pony, but Diane wouldn't let her so I talked her into pony rides instead" said Tobias shyly slightly blushing at the small white lie
"Ohhhhh just wait till I tell Tony!" cried Ali happily as she looked at her Papa.
"You will do no such thing young lady! That is a secret that will be kept just between the three of us" answered Tobias quickly and a little bit harsher than he meant
"Yes Papa" said Ali quietly
"It's alright baby girl, you and I can keep it as ammunition against Papa when he gets to full of himself" whispered Gibbs as he patted Ali's leg then glared at his husband.
Tobias just shrugged his shoulders and then with a slight groan pulled himself into the saddle, when everyone was mounted the small party started off of the trail following one behind the other. Everyone rode for about a quarter of a mile until suddenly Tobias' horse bolted passed Ali and took off at a dead run towards open spaces.
"Papa!" screamed Ali as Tobias passed her, then just as suddenly she kicked her horse and took off after him, it took her a few minutes to catch up with him but when she reached his side she grabbed onto his arm pulling Tobias off his horse. Unfortunately that act also pulled her off balance and they both tumbled to the ground, Tobias wrapping his arms around Ali as they fell so he landed on top of her when they hit the ground.
Instantly Gibbs and the ranch employee were at their side and calling back to the lodge for an ambulance.
"Just lay still sir, we have help on the way" said the ranch hand as he gently ran his hands over Tobias' back and legs.
"Papa, I can't breathe" whispered Ali but still clung to Tobias' arms.
"Oh sorry little one" said Tobias quickly then rolled off of Ali and sat beside her.
"I'm fine, check my daughter she said she's having trouble breathing. Ali what hurts sweetheart?" asked Tobias.
"My shoulder and chest, but its better now that you're not on top of me" said Ali with a shy smile
"Well just lay still sweetheart we're still going to take you to the hospital to get you checked out" said Gibbs as he gently stroked her head.
A few minutes later a Lazy L pickup truck and an ambulance drove up to the group, and two men got out and checked both Tobias and Ali. They could only find some slight bruising on Ali's back and shoulder but insisted on taking her and Tobias both in to be checked out. As they loaded Ali into the ambulance she saw two ranch hands loading hers and Tobias' horse into a trailer.
"Papa, there not going to have to shoot your horse are they?" asked Ali
"Why would you think that Ali?" asked Tobias as he looked at his daughter
"Well in all the westerns I've seen if a horse gets hurt they shoot him" said Ali sadly
"Well I'm sure that's not the case here little one, he probably just got spooked and bolted. I'm sure the person in charge of the horses will find out what happened"
"Oh good, do you think they will let me see him again?" asked Ali a little sleepily as she started to close her eyes.
"Why don't we get you checked out first then we'll talk to the foreman when we get back to the ranch okay?" said Tobias softly
"Okay, love you Papa" sighed Ali as she closed her eyes.
"Love you too little one" whispered Tobias then leaned down and kissed her head.
The rest of the ride to the hospital was quiet and uneventful and soon she was in the emergency room getting checked out. Gibbs and the owners of the Lazy L ranch soon arrived at the hospital and after filling out all the forms and giving them Ali's complete medical history she was thoroughly examined. It turned out the only damage was some slight bruising to her back and shoulder from when she hit the ground but they kept her overnight just be sure.
The owners of the Lazy L ranch assure both Tobias and Gibbs that all of Ali's medical expenses would be taken care of and if they wanted to extend their stay at the ranch there would be no charge. After promising to discuss it with Ali, Gibbs took Tobias back to the ranch to clean up and pack an overnight bag for Ali.
When they arrived back at the Lazy L ranch Gibbs insisted on Tobias soaking in the Jacuzzi while he packed a bag for Ali. So after a twenty minute soak Tobias was clean, redressed and head back towards the hospital. They both knew how Ali was about staying in the hospital so they'd made arrangements before they left for both of them to spend the night in her room. The hospital had placed her in a double room so one of them could sleep while the other watched.
As it turned out it was almost dinner time before Ali awoke again, wet and hungry.
"Hey Princess, are you feeling better?" asked Gibbs as he noticed Ali's movements and came over to stand beside her bed.
"Uhhh huh, but I'm hungry" said Ali sleepily.
"Well I'm not surprised, how about I let the nurses know that you're awake and we can get you some dinner. How's that sound?" said Gibbs as he kissed her head then went out to the nurse's station to let them know Ali was awake.
Tobias slowly rose from the chair then came over to stand beside Ali's bed.
"I'm sorry Papa" whispered Ali as she looked at her other father. He looked better, but still looked worried and a little tired.
"It's not your fault little one, although I suggest you never pull a stunt like that again or you will end up over my knee regardless wither your hurt or not"
"But I couldn't let you get hurt Papa and when I saw your horse bolt past me I just reacted. I guess it was all those westerns I watched with you and Daddy" said Ali with a smile.
"Well remind me to limit you're television watching for a while. From now on it's strictly cartoons, kids shows, sports or your movies, no more western for a while young lady" said Tobias sternly but with a smile.
"Yes Papa" said Ali then held out her arms for a hug.
After a few seconds looking at his daughter Tobias gently pulled Ali into his arms and gave her a gentle but bone crushing hug. When he'd seen Ali's horse come up beside him and her reaching over for him his heart had almost stopped. She risked her life to save him without a moment's thought for her own safety. Didn't she even realize how precious she was to him and if she'd gotten hurt because of him he'd never be able to forgive himself. But luckily she'd only gotten a few bumps and bruises and was for the most part fine.
A few minutes later Gibbs returned and changed Ali's diaper then they waited until the food services ladies brought her dinner. After Ali ate her dinner the doctor came in and examined her again finding no more damage with minimal additional bruising. As Ali settled down with her sketch book and colored pencils both Tobias and Gibbs sat in the one chair watching Ali work.
"You know Ali didn't do it to be a hero Tobias" said Gibbs softly as he nuzzled his husband's neck.
Gibbs could tell that Tobias was still upset that Ali had raced to save him and gotten hurt, but one thing he knew. That was just Ali, sometimes she reacted before she thought things through especially when it came to her family.
"I know Jethro, but she could have gotten hurt a lot worse" whispered Tobias finally
"But she didn't, and we will talk to her again about being safe. But I for one am proud that our little girl felt confident enough to rescue her Papa"
"I know, did you see her. She didn't even hesitate when my horse bolted past her, and that move. I think she's been watching too many old western" said Tobias with a laugh
"I think your right about that, for the time being it's just sports, cartoon or her movies"
"Oh I told her she could watch kid's shows as well" said Tobias
"Okay, kid's shows to but nothing where their doing anything dangerous"
"Agreed" said Tobias with a sigh then leaned his head down on Gibbs' shoulder
"Are you sure you're alright Tobias, maybe we need to have the doctor take another look at you?" asked Gibbs worriedly
"I'm fine Jethro, just the events of the day catching up to me. I feel like I could sleep for a week"
"Then why don't you take the bed and get some sleep, I'll sit up in the chair and watch Ali"
"Are you sure Jethro...?"
"Tobias!" growled Gibbs softly
"Alright, alright! Give Ali a kiss for me and I'll see you in the morning" said Tobias with a yawn as he climbed out of Gibbs lap and headed towards the second bed.
"Good night Papa" called Ali softly as she noticed him head towards the bed.
"Night little one, love you!"
"Love you too Papa" called Ali as she went back to her drawing
With that Tobias climbed into the bed and was almost instantly asleep. A few seconds later Gibbs was straightening his sheets then leaned over, kissing his forehead then returned to his chair to watch Ali. Ali worked on her sketches for another hours then after another diaper change fell asleep with her pacifier and her sleep toy. Gibbs spent the rest of the night sleeping in the lounge chair, waking only when he heard Ali move, and after a quick diaper change settled back down until she woke again.
The next morning both Tobias and Ali woke a little stiff but none the worse for wear so after a diaper change Ali ate breakfast and then Gibbs gave her a quick shower while they waited for the doctor to release her. It was the middle of the morning before he arrived and Ali had been trying to stay calm and work on her sketches but she was beginning to get antsy.
"Well I hear that someone is raring to leave our little hospital" said Ali's doctor as he entered her room.
"Oh yes sir please! I really feel fine" said Ali as she bounced of the bed and stood beside Gibbs
"Well why don't you let me take a look at you just to be sure and then you can get back to your dude ranch vacation" answered the doctor as he came over beside the bed.
"Yes sir" said Ali then climbed back up on the bed and waited patience as the doctor examined her shoulder back and then listened to her lungs.
"Raise your arms please" asked the doctor then smiled as Ali effortlessly raised both her arms "Does your back or chest hurt when you take a deep breath?"
"Then I guess you are ready to leave us, I would just try and keep her from too many strenuous activities for a few days" said the doctor with a smile.
"That's not going to be easy but well try, and thank you doctor for taking care of both of us" said Tobias as he came over and shook the man's hands.
"Well it was a pleasure, and you enjoy the rest of your vacation her in Wyoming" said the doctor then shook Gibbs' hand, then patted Ali's knee and left.
"Well little one, ready to bust out of this joint?" asked Tobias as he looked at his daughter.
Except for a slight bruise that showed out from under her sundress on her back Ali looked perfectly healthy and raring to go. She was wearing one of her summer sundresses with matching bow, lace bobby socks and tennis shoes.
"Yes sir!" answered Ali as she slide off the bed, then ran over to the closet and grabbed her bag. As she slug the bag over her shoulder she brushed against the bruise and gave a small hiss
"Here baby girl, why don't you let me carry that for you and you hold onto Papa's hand" said Gibbs as he took the bag from Ali
"Sure thing Daddy, ready to go Papa?" asked Ali as she grabbed Tobias' hand
"Ready and willing little one, lets blow this joint" said Tobias then lead Ali towards the door and out into the hallway.
In the hallway several of the nurses called goodbye to Ali and as they passed she happily waved goodbye to them. Even though Ali had only spend one night in the hospital she had made a lasting impression on most of the nursing staff, and it was abundantly evident just how much both men cared for her. Neither man had left her bedside or even her room since they'd put her in a room.
The drive back to the Lazy L ranch was a quiet one with Ali falling asleep on the backseat of their rental so when they pulled into the ranch Gibbs just parked then opened the back and carried Ali out.
The Lazy L owners had been notified that Ali was being released today so they were watching for them and ran over to their car when they saw Gibbs carrying Ali out of the backseat.
"Is she alright, maybe she should have stayed a little longer in the hospital" said the owners wife
"Oh no ma'am, she's fine. Ali always falls asleep on long car trips." said Gibbs with a smile as he shifted Ali in his arms.
"Oh well if you're sure, do you think she'll feel like eating lunch in the lodge or we could send your lunch to your cabin?"
"I'm sure she'll be fine by lunch time Mrs. Grady, but if things change we'll let you know" said Tobias as he came around to stand beside Gibbs and Ali.
Ali was sleeping peacefully in Gibbs arms with her head on his shoulder and one arms over his shoulder.
"Well lets us know if she needs anything and we'll see you at lunch time" said Mrs. Grady then gently patted Ali's arm and left.
"You know Ali's going to ask you about Tobias' horse next time she sees you right?" warned Gibbs with a smile at the older man
"Well tell her not to worry we discovered what caused him to bolt. He had a spot under his saddle that had been rubbed raw, Mr. Fornell must have hit it just right and it caused him to bolt. We've had the vet look at it and he should be healed in a few days" said Mr. Grady
"Great, we'll tell Ali when she wakes up. She was worried that you were going to shot the horse since he might have been hurt." said Gibbs
"Oh heaven's no Mr. Gibbs, Diablo has been with us since he was a colt. That's why we were so surprised when he bolted, normally he is gently as a lamb"
"Well we'd better get Ali settled, see you at lunch" said Tobias as he lead Gibbs towards their cabin.
After a quick diaper change they let Ali sleep until lunch time then went into wake her. She was sleeping soundly in the middle of her bed having not even moved a muscle since Gibbs laid her down. As Tobias and Gibbs looked down at Ali they both sighed, their little girl had no idea how precious she was to the both of them and what it would do to both of them if something happened to her.
"What should we do with her Jethro?" asked Tobias as he leaned over and laid a hand on her head.
"Just love her Tobias, you know either one of us would have done the same thing if it had been her. So how can we fault Ali for wanting to protect us?"
"I guess you're right" said Tobias with another sigh
Just then Ali turned over and opened her eyes, smiling up at her fathers.
"Hey Princess, how are you feeling?" asked Tobias as he leaned down and kissed her forehead.
"Good Papa, and Daddy's right. I would do it again in a heartbeat if I saw either of you in danger. But I promise to try and be more careful from now on" said Ali as she threw her arms around Tobias' neck.
"Thank you little one, you have no idea how precious you are to your Daddy and I"
"Of course I do Papa, and I feel the same way about the both of you." said Ali then settled down as Tobias changed her diaper.
After getting Ali redressed the trio walked to the lodge, and entered to a standing ovation which had Ali tightly clinging to Gibbs as they walked to an empty table. When everyone settled down lunch was served and Ali, Tobias and Gibbs ate a wonderful lunch of barbeque chicken with potato salad, cole slaw and rolls with tea. Desert was peach cobbler with ice cream with extra sprinkles on Ali's. After lunch Tobias took her back to their cabin for a diaper change and her nap while Gibbs talked with the Grady's about the rest of their stay.
Gibbs and Tobias had discussed last night at the hospital about taking Ali home early but after some heartfelt and frank discussion they decided that she could just as easily get hurt back at home in the Adirondacks as she could at a dude ranch in Wyoming. And she'd been looking forward to experiencing the western way of life that they didn't have the heart to take her home early. So they took the Grady's up on their offer to stay a few days longer but asked that when Ali rode the horses again it be just the two of them and a guide.
After Ali woke from her nap she spent the rest of the day wondering around the ranch looking in the gift shop, but finally ended up at the horse corral. Tobias and Gibbs had told her what Mr. Grady had said about Diablo but she wanted to see him for herself and badgered both men until they finally took her to the corral.
A horseback riding party had just left so there was only a few horses left in the corral and Mr. Grady and their ranch foreman were taking care of the remaining horses.
"Hello Mr. Grady, Hello Mr. Dylan" called Ali from outside the rails of the corral
"Hello Ali, I hear you have been worried about Diablo" said Mr. Grady as he came over to the rails.
"Is he okay, Daddy and Papa said that he had a sore on his back?" asked Ali as she tried to climb the rail.
"Ali!" said Gibbs, then put a hand on her back to make sure she didn't fall.
"See for yourself Ali" said Mr. Grady as Dylan lead him over to the rail
"Ohhhhh hello there!" called Ali as she reached out to pat his nose.
Diablo sniffed her hand for a minutes the gently started nibbling on her fingers
"I don't have anything for you Diablo, I'm sorry" said Ali as she used her other and to rub his head.
"Here Ali, give him this" said Mr. Grady then handed Ali a few cubes of sugar
Ali took them then held her hand out flat and Diablo started eating them from her hand.
"Ohhhhh that tickles, I'm glad he's doing better Mr. Grady. I'm sure he didn't mean to run off with Papa" said Ali as she gently scratched his ear.
At her statement both men looked at Ali and smiled, she really was loving and forgiving like a child even though she was physically much older.
"You're right little one he didn't, and in a few days if you and your Papa want to I'm sure Dylan will take you riding again"
"Really! Oh thank you Mr. Grady!" cried Ali as she jumped down and ran over to hug the older man.
"Ali sweetheart remember to be careful when you hug people" reminded Tobias gently
"Oh it's alright Mr. Fornell. Now how would you like to help Mr. Dylan brush Diablo and the other horses before we take then back to the barn?"
"Oh can I please Daddy? Please Papa?" asked Ali as she looked at both men.
"Just remember and be gently with them" said Gibbs as he gently kissed her head
"I will Daddy and thank you!" said Ali as she helped Dylan lead Diablo back to the barn.
"Thank you for allowing Ali to help with the horses Mr. Grady" said Tobias as he watched Dylan and Ali with Diablo.
"Oh no problem, she really is a joy to have around and we are really sorry she got hurt"
"Don't worry, knowing Ali it could have happened anywhere. Our extended family says she has only two speeds, asleep or lighting and they are not very far wrong"
"Well just let us know if you need anything and what activity she wants to do next and we'll set it up for you"
"Thank you again" said Gibbs as he shook the older man's hand then walked over to where Ali, Dylan and Tobias were with Diablo.
The rest of the afternoon Ali spent helping Dylan with the horses and by dinner time she was beginning to wind down. After dinner they spent the evening cuddling on the front porch of their cabin until Ali's bed time then all three went to bed.