As they say, all good things come to an end. I don't own the show, even though I wish I did. Enjoy the last chapter of "Where loyalties lie."

Michelle laughed as Tony tried to balance all the bags from the grocery store. When she heard that they were going to have a barbeque she told the team that it was time she taught them how to have a BBQ, South African style. Lucky for her, Gibbs agreed and with that she wrote down what she wanted from everyone and it was decided that she would be in charge of everything.

"Is all of this really necessary?" Tony huffed as he lugged the bags through to Gibbs' kitchen.

"Yes, it is. We don't do burgers at a braai," Michelle said, sounding amused.

"A what?" Tony asked, confused. Even though he had gotten used to some words Michelle used, she could still confuse the daylights out of him.

"A braai," Michelle repeated, then took pity on the man in front of her, "it's your BBQ."

"Why don't you just say so?" Tony grumbled as he started unpacking the bags.

"Did you leave anything for the other people in the store?" an amused voice came from behind and they swung around to see Jackson standing in the doorway.

"Yeah, the kitchen sink," Tony said and tried to duck Michelle's slap, only to walk into a head slap from Gibbs.

The look on his face sent Michelle into a fit of giggles, which had Jackson joining in, and even Gibbs graced them with a smile.

"Let's get started, we don't have all day," Michelle said as she sobered up. Gibbs tried to leave, but was quickly roped into the preparations. While the food was being prepared, Michelle explained why they needed such a variety of meat and why there just had to be potato salad.


Later that day, Michelle walked out of the house to see if everything was ready. The team would soon be arriving and she didn't want to let any of them down.

"Michelle," a voice from behind startled her out of her tidying. She whirled around to see Gibbs standing on the porch.

"Gibbs, you gave me a fright!" she said, grabbing her chest as if to try and calm her heart.

"Didn't mean to," Gibbs said, his voice quiet. Michelle looked into his deep blue eyes; she saw a lot of wisdom in those eyes, but also pain and sorrow. One day she would have to ask Tony about this enigma in front of her.

"It's ok. How are you feeling?" she asked even though she knew the answer.

"Fine, listen, I wanted to talk to you. To say thank you. I never got a chance and to get DiNozzo to leave your side is a real challenge."

To say she was shocked would have been an understatement. Michelle didn't even think Gibbs knew so many words, never mind using them to speak to her.

"Uh, no problem. I didn't actually do much," Michelle stammered.

"You helped us a lot. DiNozzo told me about your father and I'm sorry. He sounded like a brave man." Gibbs' eyes seemed to grow darker and Michelle had to look away from the intense gaze.

"Thank you, Gibbs, but let's not spoil tonight with stories from the past," Michelle smiled a little. "Besides I think my father would have loved to meet you. Maybe I could introduce you all to my family?"

"I'd like that. Speaking of family, DiNozzo is like my son, hurt him and you'll have to answer to me," Gibbs said with a smile and Michelle felt an incredible urge to run like mad. Instead she squared her shoulders, looked him straight in the eye and said,

"Never gonna happen."

"Good," he said and gave her a lopsided grin, "let the fun begin."

Just then, the team came through the door and the party began.


Gibbs looked around at the people eating and drinking and smiled. They were really a family, even Vance was there with his wife and kids. He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see his father's wise, old eyes looking at him.

"You did good, Leroy. Please, just stay out of trouble for a while," the older Gibbs said as he brought his son in for a rare hug.

"Thanks Dad, but no promises," Gibbs said, mysteriously earning a sigh from his father.

A loud shout suddenly caught their attention as Abby started chasing Palmer around the yard. Tony and McGee were laughing, Ducky was trying to call Abby back, Vance and his wife put their hands over the kids' ears to protect them from the words Abby was using, and Michelle and Ziva just shook their heads.

"Think we should go help him?" Jackson asked.

"Nah, in a minute, she'll catch him. Don't worry, he'll be fine," Gibbs answered as they left to join the crowd and to find out what Palmer did.

Gibbs laughed with his family as Abby caught up with Palmer and jumped on his back. Yeah, life was good and life with people like this…..even better. This right here is where loyalties lie.

And so we came to the end of the first story I ever wrote and posted. I want to thank everybody who reviewed, favorited, followed and pm'd me during the year and a half I was writing this, you guys made it all worth it. My friend that encouraged me to post this - thank you too, you know who you are.

This will not be the last NCIS story I write, I am currently working on another one, but I want to finish my other stories before I post that one, so I don't leave you guys hanging so much. Please review and let me know what you thought about this chapter as well as the story as a whole.

Thanks so much to C. Nicole for keeping up with me, you deserve a medal!

Till next time,