Jethro Gibbs sighed as he looked up from his home computer in the den. There wasn’t much work getting done since he had been acting as referee all afternoon.
“Dad!” Abby and Kate came running into the den, whining.
“What now?” Gibbs sighed.
“Dad, Tony won’t leave us alone.”
Jethro stood up and stuck his head out of the door. “Anthony! Come here please.” He turned back toward the girls and waited until he heard small footsteps. When Tony entered the den he saw his sisters and scowled.
“Have you been bothering your sisters?”
“They’ve been ignoring me all afternoon. I only went to Katie’s door to ask them to play and they yelled at me to leave them alone.”
Jethro turned to the girls. “That true?”
“We were playing.” Kate answered.
“Did Tony do anything other than ask you to play?”
“No dad.” Abby answered.
“You guys have been arguing all afternoon and I’m tired of it. You all can find a seat in here, away from each other, until I’m finished.”
“But dad.” Kate whined.
“Sit!” All three children did as they were told and sat as Jethro went back to his computer.
After a few minutes of silence, Gibbs looked up and observed his children. Kate was glaring at Tony, Abby was practicing sign language, but Tony was curled up on a plush chair. Gibbs watched for a moment and noticed he was shaking, as if crying.
Jethro stood and went to his son. He quickly picked Tony up and held him close. “Girls? Go to your rooms and play quietly.” He carried Tony into the living room where the recliner was and gently rocked his sobbing son. “Shh, son. Want to tell me what’s wrong?”
“They hate me.” Tony cried.
“Sh. Son it’s not you, it’s a girl thing.”
“Girls are stinky.”
Jethro chuckled. “I’ll remind you of that in eight or nine years.”
“I didn’t bother them. I just asked them to play.” Tony snuggled closer as Gibbs kept rocking.
“I believe you son.” Jethro rocked until he felt Tony go boneless in sleep. He carefully carried Tony back to the den and tucked him onto one of the love seats with a blanket.
Jethro then went to speak with his daughters.
Gibbs entered Abby’s room first and found her playing with her bug collection. “Hey Baby Girl.”
“Daddy. Can I come out of my room yet? I’m bored.”
“Why wouldn’t you and Kate let Tony play with you?”
“I didn’t care but Kate’s mad at him for some reason. She’s been mean to him all weekend.”
“You don’t know why?”
“No daddy.” Abby yawned.
“Okay Baby Girl. I want you to lay down and take a nap.”
“I’m not tired daddy.” Abby whined.
“You’re still going to lay down. Tony’s already asleep.” Gibbs helped Abby onto her bed and tucked a blanket around her. “Sleep tight Baby Girl. I want you to stay on this bed until you wake up or the timer goes off.” Gibbs kissed her forehead and headed to Kate’s room.
Gibbs found Kate playing with her Barbie dolls. “Katie Bug.”
“Bug? What’s going on with you and Tony?”
“Don’t lie to me Caitlyn Gibbs. You have been rotten to your brother all day and Abby said it’s been going on all weekend. Why?”
“He’s always teasing me dad.”
“That’s nothing new. You usually tease him back. What’s changed?”
“On Friday at pre-school, he and his friends took my doll and tossed her back and forth. Then they threw her on top of the toy shed. I had to have Miss Mandy get her down.”
“Why didn’t you tell me when I picked you up?”
“Don’t know.” Kate mumbled.
“You should have. I could have dealt with it then and you wouldn’t be in more trouble than him right now.”
“But he was being mean.”
“So you were mean back. That makes you just as wrong Bug.”
“Oh. I’m sorry dad.”
“I know Bug and we’ll talk some more after your nap.” Gibbs said.
“No! No nap daddy.” Kate yelled.
“Excuse me?” Gibbs said very quietly.
“But dad.” Kate whined.
Gibbs picked her up and carried her to the bed. When he set her down he gave her a firm swat. “You know better than to tell me no young lady.”
Kate covered her bottom from any more swats but relaxed when Jethro smiled at her reaction. “Next time Katie Bug, you’ll get more than one swat, now go to sleep. I want you to stay on your bed until you wake up or I come get you. Understand?”
Kate nodded. “Yes daddy, I’m sorry.”
“I love you Bug.” Gibbs tucked her in and kissed her forehead then returned to the den to find Tony still asleep. When he checked on Abby and Kate fifteen minutes, they were both asleep. He returned to his computer to finally get some work done.
An hour later, Tony started to wake up. When Gibbs looked up, Tony was looking right at him as he sucked his thumb.
“Hey Sport. How was your nap?”
“Dad? How’d I get in here?”
Gibbs smiled and patted his lap. “Come here.” Tony approached and let Gibbs pick him up and settle him in his lap. “I talked to Katie and she told me what happened yesterday at pre-school.”
“I didn’t throw her doll daddy. Bobby did. I told him not to but nobody listened to me, not even Katie.” Tony put his thumb back into his mouth.
“Why were you teasing your sister to start with?”
“You need to tell Katie you’re sorry.”
“Now?” Tony yawned.
“Later. Your sisters are still napping.”
“Oh.” Tony snuggled close with his thumb back in his mouth.
“You want to watch a DVD while I work?”
Tony shook his head. “Sit here please.” He mumbled.
“No wiggling?” Tony shook his head again. “Okay.”
Tony got comfortable and cuddled while Gibbs worked.