Sequel to 'Gibbs meets James'

Author's Note: This story would make more sense if you read some of 'Gibbs meets James', but it should be understandable on its own.

The trip back was a silent one. Gibbs knew James was probably emotionally exhausted - he was just glad it was a comfortable one. He used the time to reflect over the last two days – never in his whole life had he imagined himself having another kid – let alone adopting a 10 year old! Despite being angry at James' upbringing, he was exceptionally happy. He also wondered what the future would bring – he had a feeling he hadn't even scratched the surface with James' background.

Back at home, the duo momentarily paused in the front room.

'Are you hungry?' Gibbs asked, breaking the silence.

'No.'

It was then that Gibbs realized his reality. He had a 10 year old in his house that only had with him what he was standing up in. It all dawned on him at once, he would have to find James some clothes, find him a school – the list went on… Instead of finishing that thought, he decided to simply do what he usually did after a hard case – relax.

'I'm going to work on my boat. You can come with me if you want, or watch TV or whatever. We should probably go shopping tomorrow to get you some clothes and stuff.' Gibbs said.

'Ok. I might watch some TV – can I get some water?'

'Sure. This is your house now. Help yourself.' James grinned at that and made his way to the kitchen.

Once down in the basement, Gibbs found he was restless. Deciding that working on his boat would be the best cure he got to it. After about 10 minutes he came to the conclusion that instead of buying furniture for James he could make some. The spare room –James' room, he reminded himself – consisted of one bed. He was a minimalist, and on the occasions any of his team stayed over they lived out of their bags (all his team kept one in their car – even Abby) so they only needed somewhere to sleep. He pulled a piece of paper towards him and began to produce a technical drawing of a chest of drawers.

About an hour and a half later Gibbs heard footsteps on the stairs. He looked up. He answered James' implied question.

'I decided to make some things for your room. I just started some drawers.'

'I get homemade furniture?!'

'Yep.' Gibbs replied before smiling at James' grin. He was never going to get tired of that.

'Anyway, I take it you came down to ask something.'

'Yeah. Can I cook something?'

'Cook?' Gibbs asked blankly.

'Yeah. I like to cook. Can I?'

'Let's go see.'

Puzzled, James followed Gibbs up the stairs – he wondered what Gibbs meant. Once in the kitchen, Gibbs turned to look at James.

'You should know I don't cook. I have no idea what's in some of these cupboards.'

James nodded.

They had great fun rooting through the kitchen. James found that when Gibbs said he didn't cook he meant it - he had literally no utensils – he only found a wooden spoon and one baking tray. They both laughed at the variety of cans which varied in age (although all out of date) from 1991. James was in disbelief at the lack of food in the place – even the fridge only contained eggs, milk and bread. They had better luck in the freezer – 7 steaks and a frozen pizza. The final straw was the so-called 'baking' cupboard – 1 kilo of out of date flour. Gibbs and James took one look at each other and burst out laughing.

When they had recovered, James muttered, 'I think we need to buy some food Gibbs. This stuff'll kill you.' This resulted in another round of laughter.

They came to the conclusion that it wasn't possible for James to cook anything. In the same moment Gibbs had an idea. 'How would you like the team over tonight? We could get Ducky to bring over some proper food.'

'That would be awesome Gibbs! If you don't mind – have you had them over before?'

'I'll go make some calls.'

Gibbs was pleased with his calls – everyone was coming – even DiNozzo after some persuading. He also thought it could be good for the team; they had ever socialized all together outside of work.

Back in the kitchen Gibbs did a double take – James was nowhere to be seen. After calling and getting no response, he made his way up the stairs to start looking from the top of the house downwards. After searching every room in the house, Gibbs (slightly worried now) decided to look outside. He finally found James at the end of the garden, seemingly getting ready to climb a tree.

'What do you think you're doing?' Gibbs asked angrily. James spun around.

'What?' he said sulkily, his attitude reappearing.

'Inside. Now.' Gibbs growled. A scowling James made his way back to the house.

Gibbs pointed to the table, 'Sit. We're going to talk.'

'I'm good standing – and I don't want to talk.'

'You don't have a choice. I'm not going to ask again.' James' response was to glare at Gibbs who calmly returned his gaze. Eventually James gave in and stomped his way to the table, scraped a chair against the floor and turned his stare to the table.

'Look at me and loose the attitude.' Gibbs demanded.

Gibbs couldn't help thinking that he had his work cut out when it took James a good few minutes to look at him – his team would have seen the warning signs by now and calmed down.

'Why did you go outside?'

'You didn't tell me I couldn't.' James shot back at him.

'Right. We need to get some rules straight.' Gibbs started – this was followed by James rolling his eyes.

'James this is your first and only warning. You lose the attitude now or I cancel the plans tonight.'

James' head snapped up – that got his attention. Gibbs gave James him a minute to unwind.

'Good. You never go anywhere without telling me. It's not because I'm being mean but because I need to know where you are at all times.' Gibbs stated. He added in a softer voice, 'I can't look out for you if I don't know where you are James.'

Finally James nodded – he seemed to understand. 'Also, there are certain things I don't allow. I have zero tolerance for lying. I also don't allow attitude or you disobeying me or anyone else who tells you not to do something. Do you understand?'

James nodded. 'I want a spoken answer.'

'Fine.'

'Good. Now, I'll let that incident slide considering I hadn't fully explained the rules. Also, I know you don't want to hear it but until Ducky says so you can't do any sport or anything.'

James scowled again. Gibbs glared back. 'The team will be over in about half an hour – we can cook something then.'

James was now a bit stuck for what to do – he had half an hour of time to kill. He was happy to watch TV again, but Gibbs had other ideas.

'I think you should have a bath. You could shower, but that would be difficult with your arm.'

'Another bath? But I had one yesterday!' James whined. Gibbs noticed that he wasn't resisting – unlike yesterday.

Gibbs motioned for James to follow him up the stairs. James dragged his feet, but didn't object; even he wasn't in the mood for pushing Gibbs again.

'Oh and if you hadn't realized, the room you slept in last night is yours.'

'That's cool. I like it.'

'I can sort a bath out myself Gibbs.' James said. Gibbs nodded and watched James take over. It made Gibbs both sad and angry – the kid had been looking after himself for years. Gibbs hoped that one day he might actually ask for some help.

'You could think about what colour you are going to paint your room while you are in the bath.'

'I can paint it?'

'Sure. Nothing too outrageous though.'

'What does outrageous mean?' James asked, puzzled.

'It means extreme – I wouldn't let you paint it bright orange or anything.'

James nodded as he turned off the taps. 'Are you sure? I don't mind it the way it is.'

'It's beige. Choose a colour and we can add it to the list of things to buy tomorrow.'

James smiled at that.

…..

Gibbs was once again struggling with emotions. He couldn't remember being so confused or feeling so protective in a long time. He also realized that he had to get his hatred for Harper under control – he didn't want his anger coming out on James. He couldn't help feeling angry though – James had never been properly looked after for at least 4 years (Gibbs still wasn't sure what his mother was like though). Anyway, Gibbs pulled himself together and went to find something to occupy his time with.

James came down about 20 minutes later to see Gibbs cleaning. When Gibbs looked closely at James he realized something was up. After glancing at his watch, he saw it was time for James to take some more pain killers. He went to get them, sneaking another look at James. Despite knowing James was in pain, he marveled at how well he hid it. No wonder no one had ever guessed he was being abused. After a slight battle of getting James to take the pills, he asked James to fill the kettle up. You had to boil potatoes and stuff right?

Gibbs started to wipe down the counters. From his seat (Gibbs' orders) James had a mischievous look on his face and asked, 'Why are you cleaning?'

'Counters need to be clean.'

'You're a Marine, right? They were already clean.'

'Humph.' Gibbs mumbled, giving James an 'I'm not amused.' look.

At 6.55, the doorbell rang. Gibbs inwardly smiled; even to a social event his team wouldn't be late. The first to arrive was McGee, Abby (who had been given a lift) and Palmer. Gibbs realized he should get a lock on his front door now he had James. Ducky and Ziva arrived at 6.58. DiNozzo arrived bang on 7.

After some small talk, there was a lull in the chat. No one was quite sure what the procedure for a 'social' gathering was. Ducky came to the rescue and took charge – he was the one who had brought the food after all.

'Anthony, Gibbs – take this bag of potatoes and start peeling. Ziva you do the carrots and Abby you can sort these peppers out.' The team looked startled for a moment before realizing Gibbs had already opened the potatoes. Ducky nodded and continued his delegating.

'Timothy and James you can lay the table.'

'Ah, I should probably tell you what we are having. Jimmy if you could help me please,' he said motioning towards the last bag. 'I had some chicken fillets; I thought we could put them in some sort of sauce?' He looked expectantly at the team for answers – they looked blankly back at him.

'I see. Well, I think a peppercorn sauce would be alright. I know it's meant to go with steak but when I was in Venezuela once they had a delicious…' Ducky continued telling them his stories of the past. Everyone worked well together, and they had a complete meal including carrots, roasted peppers, chicken and mashed potatoes ready within the hour.

Gibbs had worked quietly and had subtly been observing everyone. DiNozzo had chatted away happily to him - once he had finished complaining at being given the 'easy' job of peeling potatoes. He was pleased with what he saw – James blended in easily with the team and got on especially well McGee (he suspected Ducky had known that). The conversation flowed easily and apart from the odd harmless comment there had been no arguments or anything. Gibbs smirked at himself – he was becoming quite the sentimentalist.

When the food was in the table everyone dug in. Jimmy, Ziva and McGee were sitting on wooden blocks from the basement (Gibbs didn't have enough chairs) and everyone was eating elbow-to-elbow but it didn't matter – the company was good. The conversation finally ended up about schools.

Tony jumped into the conversation. 'I remember pranking my math teacher. Everyone hid behind the desks and squirted him with water pistols when he came in. It was hilarious!'

'Tony!' Gibbs exclaimed.

'What? The idiot deserved it; he'd given us two sets of homework the day before!'

Everyone burst out laughing, except Gibbs. 'Tony! Enough. I don't want you teaching James bad habits! '

'Ah don't worry Gibbs. I wouldn't do it to a math teacher. Maybe a history one though.' He said cheekily.

Everyone laughed harder at that. Gibbs sent him a look that said, 'Don't even think about it.'

McGee, although having fun, thought it was time to change the topic.

'So, do you like any sports James?'

'Ah yeah, James have you tried golf – I liked that when I was at school?' Gibbs asked. Everyone went stock still – Gibbs, golf?

Ziva recovered first, 'Gibbs – you are taking the monkey, yes?' she said hopefully.

'Mickey, Ziva.'

Gibbs grinned and the room once again collapsed in laughter.

….

The team left around 9. There was no clearing up to do, everyone had helped clean the place afterwards. The duo were watching TV when James yawned.

'Bed.' Gibbs declared. James pouted but obviously the want to sleep overruled the need to object. 'That was good Gibbs. Can have everyone over again?'

'I don't see why not.' Gibbs replied, smiling at James. James grinned back at him.

A new tradition had been born.

Author's Note: I'm thinking of making this into a series – any thoughts? My apologies for possibly confusing anyone, but I've decided to add another chapter to this story.