Author: CJ aka WritinginCT
Categories: Romance/Character Study
Feedback: Love it? Hate it?
Disclaimer: I don't own the recognizable characters I'm just inspired by them. Hopefully they've had fun playing in my sandbox.
Summary: Companion piece to "The Things He Carries" Gibbs/DiNizzo
Status: Complete 11/21/07
She would come in and dust and vacuum, and do the light housekeeping for him. It really wasn't hard to help keep up his house, he was a tidy man. Everything had a place and everything in its place.
When she first started working for him years ago his house had an unlived in feel to it. Almost as if the man that called it home was ghost. She knew from the sawdust that he tracked up the stairs that he had a workshop, but she had never had a reason to go down and explore it to see what it was that he was building, and he never offered. There were no pictures on display in his house, nothing to tie him to a family or anyone for that matter. There was a sad loneliness to the house.
Week after week, and month after month she would tend to his house. She hesitated to call it a home, there was nothing homey about his house. Then a year ago she started seeing things in the house...change.
It started with the throw pillows on the couch. Normally his living room was something that a museum curator kept under glass, nothing ever changed. No one ever used the room. And when she walked into the room and saw one of the pillows bunched up and crushed into the corner of the couch, as if someone had been lounging back on it, she stopped dead in her tracks and blinked at it. She shook off her shock and went about her work, the surprise of it lingering with her though.
In the weeks that followed she never knew what she would find. He apparently was having company over on a fairly regular basis. She would smile seeing two plates standing side by side in the dish drainer near the sink. She chuckled to herself when she found an NCIS sweatshirt carelessly thrown over the arm of the couch. She would occasionally find random beer bottles or coffee cups around the house. And he had started keeping a big bowl of apples on the dining room table that seemed to almost disappear between her weekly visits. And speaking of the dining room, there were clearly two places next to each other at the table being used, often. And there was now food appearing in his kitchen, for some reason, or someone more likely, groceries had become important.
He normally took care of his personal laundry, but she would wash the sheets and towels. The towels were normally a small load, but she noticed that pile increasing, someone else was showering too. And when she started coming in to find the bed stripped and the sheets already in the washer she would laugh. He apparently thought that she would be offended to discover that he was sharing his sheets with someone. She wasn't a prude, and had been married for thirty-five years. She and her dear husband, in that lifetime together before he passed on, had mussed more than their fair share of sheets.
Soon she found other things. There were two toothbrushes hanging side-by-side in the bathroom. And a new salon shampoo and conditioner joined his old faithful shampoo in the shower. Magazines about movies and celebrities graced the coffee table along side crime novels. And a soft navy blue afghan now lived on the back of the couch that she often found pooled up as if someone had fallen asleep with it over them and it had slid off when they sat up quickly.
The appearance of a new television and dvd player in the living room totally took her by surprise. In all the years she had been cleaning his house, she had never seen a television in it. The television was followed by stacks of dvds, so many that the little stand the television sat on was full to overflowing and they had to be stacked neatly alongside it. She was surprised to see that the majority of the movies were not new, but rather leaned more towards the classics and old black and white films from the heyday of Hollywood.
She wondered about what type of woman it was that he was seeing. There was never any trace of her personal things in the house. The woman's influence on him was apparent though, he was relaxing. His fastidiousness was slipping and she would see sneakers lying in the hallway and blue jeans just tossed in the corner as opposed to reaching the hamper.
He was always good about leaving her weekly check on the counter for her, and she rarely thought twice about it. But then she noticed a change there as well. On several occasions she found the check made out to her, but drawn on an A. DiNozzo's account. She had half a name to put with with his mystery house guest. It did not surprise her when the checks started bearing two names, L.J. Gibbs and A. DiNozzo.
Slowly but surely, the tone of his house became that of a home. It was lived in, and loved in.
She saw the two overcoats hanging side by side on their hooks but thought nothing of it, and paid no attention to the red and white varsity jacket on the other peg either. The dry cleaning hanging on the doorknob didn't phase her, she simply opened the closet and placed it on the rod, not noticing the vast and varied wardrobe now hanging in there.
The entertainment stand she noticed. A big, beautiful piece of furniture, it stood proudly in the living room. It now held the television and all of the dvds with room for more. Made from what looked like really old wood, the piece had been stained a warm caramel color and lovingly buffed to a high shine. Now she knew what he did in his workshop. There was just no question, it was too exquisite to be store bought.
Shortly after entertainment stand made the living room its home she met the mysterious A. DiNozzo. Three days before Christmas she was dusting as she hummed along with the Christmas music playing in the kitchen. The nifty little under the counter radio/cd player something else she attributed to his house guest. She heard a key in the door which made her start, she wasn't used to him coming home while she was there. And her start turned to concern when she didn't recognize the handsome young man that opened the door and came into the house dragging a Christmas tree behind him. The red and white varsity jacket he had on she did recognize though and her confusion knew no bounds.
He broke into a wide smile when he saw her standing there. He closed the door to keep the cold out and turned towards her. "Hi. You must be Agnes. I'm Tony. Tony DiNozzo. Sorry we haven't met before." He extended his hand to her and she shook it on autopilot.
She couldn't help herself from asking, "You're the A. DiNozzo on the checks?"
He laughed, and instantly put her at ease, "Anthony. Now you know why I go by Tony."
He reached up to rake a hand through his hair and she saw a wedding band on his hand. It started her mind going to all the changes she had seen in the house and when her view fell on his sneakers, the sneakers that were generally left wherever they were kicked off it all clicked for her. She was not a prude and watched enough television to put all the pieces together. And although it was a shock, she had to admit. Jethro would have been the last person she would have ever thought would be in a relationship with another man. But the proof was standing right in front of her, in the form of a very charming man with a beautiful smile and kind eyes.
Tony had been an investigator long enough to read Agnes' face as she put together the relationship between he and Gibbs and he said gently, "What you're thinking? Yeah, it's true. About a year. Although we've known each other a lot longer than that."
She smiled wanly and gestured towards the ring on his hand, "Did he give you that?" She knew about his ex-wives, all of them, and she knew about Shannon and Kelly having seen their picture on his dresser.
Tony looked down at the ring and got a silly little expression on his face, in fact, he got that expression every single time he looked at the ring. "Yeah. A few weeks ago. Um, this isn't going to make you uncomfortable is it? We probably should have told you a long time ago."
"No, Tony. It's okay. I'm just surprised."
He laughed, "That makes three of us."
The two of them chatted for quite a while as Tony got the Christmas tree in its stand and situated in the living room. In all the years she had known Jethro he had never had a tree or any other holiday decorations. Tony knew this and was doing this to surprise Jethro. He slipped up into the attic and brought down a box of ornaments that he had discovered in the sneaky reconnaissance that he had done the week before. There were some really old ornaments passed down from Jethro's family and from Shannon's. And there were many crafted by Kelly's little hand. Tony had brought over his own ornaments that he had collected since striking out on his own so many years ago. Agnes went about her cleaning, passing by the living room and seeing his progress as he adorned the shapely tree, combining the mementos from both their lives as he sang along with the Christmas music he had turned up loudly.
Agnes found herself liking Tony a lot. He seemed to be a fun loving and light hearted person, just what Jethro needed. She realized it was Tony that had turned this cold house into a home, no, she thought, they had turned this house into a home. When she finished her cleaning and put on her coat to go she stopped in the living room just as he was wrapping an old red plaid blanket around the base of the tree, the smell of pine permeating the room. Standing he asked with a grin, "So what do you think?"She looked at the tree with its white lights twinkling amid the mish mash of ornaments, "It's beautiful, Tony. I'm sure he's going to be surprised."
He laughed, "Surprised, annoyed, and probably won't speak to me for two days. But maybe by Christmas..."
Christmas Eve there was a knock on her door, and she opened it to see Tony and Jethro standing there, a big gourmet gift basket in Tony's hands.
"We just wanted to say Merry Christmas." He explained as he held out the basket.
They declined her invitation to come inside and Jethro teased, "Santa's little elf here has more deliveries to make."
Tony didn't hesitate to tease back, "You are so getting coal in your stocking."
And as she watched the two men head down the walk back to the car she saw the smile on Jethro's face, and the gentle way he looked at Tony. And when he placed a hand on the small of Tony's back as they walked she saw the glint of the street light off of a shiny new band of gold.
And she smiled, thinking about the things she saw.